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."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who are the dumb asses who post those comments on The Press website? There is so much ingorance and misinformation. Don't they have anything better to do? If they don't care about Strathmere, then shut up, go away.