The Borough recently published a report by Stockton University’s Coastal Research Center (CRC) on the condition of our Beaches and Back Bay Basins.
Regarding our Bays and Basins, the purpose of this work is to assess how fast sediment is filling in the Basins and Bay after the dredging work completed in 2016-2017. SHPOA has for the last two years requested that the Borough use the monitoring results to schedule maintenance dredging before the sediment fills in the Basins. Scheduling dredging after sediment flows from the marshes across the Channels and fills the Basins is expensive and produces quantities of dredged sediment which are too large for disposal in the local regional disposal site. This year, SHPOA was successful in getting the Borough/CRC to measure sediment infill at the mouths of the Basins. The prior two years, CRC measured exclusively in the Basins showing little sediment accumulation. The working theory is that when we observe sediment building up at the entrances to the Basins, we should schedule maintenance dredging to eliminate the buildup before it migrates into the Basins. Waiting till the Basins show infilling is too late. The report is showing sediment buildup in many of the entrances to the Basins. Pleasure and Carnival Basins have already begun to fill and have lost 2-4 feet of depth. Remember Stone Harbor dredged down about 6 feet; or said differently, we increased the depth of the Channel and Basins by about 6 feet. The report also shows scouring of the bottom up against bulkheads along the main channel. Tidal inflow and outflow velocities have taken the bottom down 15 feet. This is a threat to bulkhead and pilings along the Channel. It is time for the Borough to begin the process for hiring a contractor, sometime in the next 18 months, for spot sediment removal and Basin clearing where it has already intruded. This process of preparing a bid package, obtaining the necessary permits and mobilizing a contactor could take 12 months. The recently established SH Bay Reserve will not have accumulated the necessary funds for all of this work so alternative financing may be required, such as bonds.
Regarding the beaches, the data were collected in October 2019. The value of the report is to inform SH of where the beach profile was before the winter storms. Stockton University has conducted another beach survey in February which is more useful in assessing the status of our beach sand after the winter storm season. We still have March and April when storms can occur. SHPOA members will be advised when that report is available.
To view the entire report on the Borough website, click on the link below.