Ortley Beach, just one week after undergoing a maintenance project to return sand to the oceanfront and repair beach entrances, had its beachfront battered by a storm over the course of Memorial Day Weekend. Officials are now pledging to rebuild the beach, again, as the height of the summer season approaches.
The storm brought heavy northeast winds to the Shore area the same weekend as the year’s most significant “king tide” was occurring, leading to ocean water lapping up against the dune line, creating a cliff that is generally between three and four feet in height (though some sections reach as high as eight feet) and destroying at least two beach entrances that had just been rebuilt the week before.
Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill said he and Township Engineer Robert Chankalian were scheduled to take a tour of the area Monday and formulate a plan for repairs as soon as the work week begins Tuesday morning.
“Whatever we have to do to make it right again, we’ll do,” Hill told Shorebeat.
Over the last two weeks, a $438,000 beach repair project was completed to rehabilitate beaches following the Feb. 1-2 nor’easter, which decimated Ortley Beach, Bay Head, and portions of Mantoloking and Point Pleasant Beach. The work included the delivery of hundreds of truckloads of sand and repairs to fencing and entrances. It was expected that FEMA would fund those repairs. In some cases, the repairs may have to be repeated following the weekend storm, and it is not clear what, if any, reimbursement will be available to the township.
“We may need to truck in more sand and use the bulldozers to move it around and make sure the beach is protected,” said Hill.
The protective dune itself was not significantly impacted, and the ocean water never came close to threatening any buildings, streets or the township’s boardwalk. Only the open beach berm and three entrances were impacted in a major way.
“It’s unusual that we had a storm since Friday that hadn’t let up, and with each rising tide it got worse,” Hill said. “That said, it’s not near what happened in the February timeframe.”
Hill said that the township will do “whatever we have to do to make it right again” for the beach season, adding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which designed Toms River’s dune system, will likely make more permanent changes to the beachscape when they return next year for a formal beach renourishment project.
“One thing the Army Corps of Engineers said when they met with us was that when they did the initial replenishment, they did it equidistant all the way around,” the mayor explained. “They knew some areas would be impacted worse than others, and Ortley seems to be one of those areas”
“When they come back next year, they’ll probably expand the beach, build it up and make sure there is more sand around because that is the area where there has been a lot of abuse,” Hill said.