Saturday, November 15, 2008

Strathmere Aerial Photos 11/13/08

Here are some amazing aerial views from Steve Nickelsberg that were just taken this week on 11/13/08. They'll give you an idea of just how bad the point erosion is. The Point Beach is gone, and you can see from these photos that I wasn't exaggerating when I said that before.

Keep in mind that these photos were taken at LOW tide. Click images for larger views

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Strathmere's rock wall to cost Upper Township more

Strathmere's rock wall to cost Upper Township more
By MICHAEL MILLER Staff Writer, 609-463-6712

Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2008

UPPER TOWNSHIP - A rock seawall in Strathmere could cost taxpayers 25 percent more than expected.
The Township Committee on Monday agreed to pay as much as $150,000 more, or $750,000 total cost, for the seawall that Agate Construction of Dennis Township is building on the island's north end.

Township Engineer Paul Dietrich said the project required more boulders than anticipated to protect homes along Neptune and Seaview avenues. The rocks act as a tide break, deflecting wave energy during storms that have eaten away private and public property this year, including an entire 90-acre state park.

The rocks are having the desired effect, protecting oceanfront homes and public roads on this narrow island, Dietrich said.

The Township Committee declared an emergency and approved the project without public bidding because of the imminent threat of storm damage on the island's exposed north end.

"Let's get it done the right way and have it finished. But there has to be a drop-dead limit," Mayor Richard Palombo said. "This isn't something we're used to - escalating construction costs."
A $3.5 million beach-replenishment project early next year is expected to cover the rock wall with a new sand beach. The state will pay 75 percent of that project.

"This is like the Alamo. This is our last stand here, this rock wall," Deputy Mayor Curtis Corson Jr. said. "If we get the beach fill, hopefully we'll bury these stones and never see them again. But let's put them in place in the event there is a major event."

The committee approved the additional spending 4-0 on Monday. Committeeman Frank Conrad, who works in construction, abstained because of a potential conflict of interest.

Dietrich said contractors have placed about 5,000 tons of stone. To complete the project, they will have to place as much as 3,000 tons more, he said.

This will cost between $60,000 and $150,000 more than the $600,000 initially budgeted.

Meanwhile, just one Strathmere property owner has not signed an easement allowing permanent public access to her beachfront. The state demands the easements before it will approve public funding for the beach fill.

Solicitor Dan Young said the township will file condemnation proceedings in court this week if the owner does not accept the township's offer to buy her land.

The township is asking 19 property owners in the southern Strathmere neighborhood of Whale Beach to sign over easements as well in the hope that the Township Committee can persuade the state to expand the beach project here.

Dietrich is meeting this week with the state Department of Environmental Protection to discuss the pending beach fill.

Meanwhile, Palombo said the Cape May County Emergency Management Office will ask several Atlantic County towns to join an application for federal disaster relief for shore towns battered by recent storms.

The county is taking a regional approach to addressing the damaged beaches. Upper Township, Ocean City and Sea Isle City, among others, hope to get federal money to pay for erosion, road damage and other costs they incurred since Labor Day. But Palombo said the total damage estimate might not reach the $11 million threshold that would trigger a federal response.

"It's not going to be an exaggerated number. If we qualify, great," Palombo said.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Strathmere Rocks

Ed Faber sent me some great photos, of the work being done out on the point today. Truckloads of huge rocks are still being brought into town. A wide barrier of rocks is being built across the front of the point.

Friday, November 07, 2008

State refuses to pay for Strathmere rocks Upper Township will get no help from state to pay for $600,000 Strathmere seawall

By MICHAEL MILLER Staff Writer -Published: Friday, November 07, 2008

UPPER TOWNSHIP - The township will not get any help from the state to pay for a $600,000 rock wall on Strathmere's north end.

Crews from Agate Construction, of Dennis Township, continued building the wall one truckload at a time Thursday as a coastal storm lashed the beaches.

Mayor Richard Palombo said the state Department of Environmental Protection informed the township it will not pay for the work.

"The state is committed to a sand-only project," he said. "The word I've gotten from the DEP is that at this point Upper Township will be responsible for the rock. But they will dredge the inlet, which will put a lot more sand on the state-owned property."

The township moved the harvest site farther inland into Corsons Inlet in the hope that opening this channel will discourage erosion along the island's north end. The township's coastal consultant said doing so would help eliminate a second channel that has scoured the northeastern part of the island.
The state agreed to pay 75 percent of that estimated $3.5 million project and 100 percent of the work restoring Corsons Inlet State Park. An estimated 90 acres of park in Strathmere disappeared under the waves in the past year.

Township Engineer Paul Dietrich submitted a plan to the state to restore a portion of the state park to protect the island's north end. But the township's priority is along the beachfront where homes and roads are imperiled, Dietrich said.

With a finite budget, every cubic yard of sand counts, he said.

"Realistically, can we put back 25 or 35 acres?" Deitrich asked. He said the answer is yes, but it will take time to rebuild the once-extensive dune system.

The township is still awaiting word on Cape May County's plans to apply for federal disaster assistance.

Meanwhile, the township is in the process of seizing beachfront through eminent domain. The township is pursuing easements from one north-end property owner and about 20 property owners in the neighborhood called Whale Beach.

Strathmere's beaches have become a local attraction during every coastal storm, including Thursday's. TV news crews have congregated there to get dramatic images of waves crashing a few feet from million-dollar homes.

More spectators watched workers Thursday in a spitting rain.

Strathmere property owner Indrek Ojamaa, of Mercer County, photographed the heavy equipment that moved boulders the size of recliners. He recalled a time not so long ago when Corsons Inlet State Park was a sprawling mix of dunes and bayberry. Now, the park ends a few yards from its big brown sign.

DEP spokeswoman Elaine Makatura said the agency is reviewing the township's plans to rebuild this natural area.

Palumbo said the half-finished rock wall already is having the desired effect of protecting public and private property. The rocks deflect the wave energy produced when tons of water crash onto the shoreline.

"It's interesting to see there's already sand being deposited by those groins. It's already having a very positive impact. We're very pleased," he said. "We were a little (uneasy) about this storm today. If we get through a high tide today, we'll be in great shape."