Seaside Park officials, having been thus far denied funding for a hazard mitigation project along its bayfront, are turning to officials in every level of government in an attempt to obtain the dollars required to effectuate an ambitious protection plan.
“We’re leaving no stone unturned in trying to marshal support from every level of government – local, state and federal,” said Mayor John A. Peterson.
Peterson said he has received support from project managers on the state level, but there has been essentially no movement on the part of Washington to provide the funding for the latest iteration of the project, which was presented over the summer. Peterson said at a meeting of the borough council last week that his liaison with FEMA reported “no formal response” yet to the borough’s proposal.
“In the mean time, I wrote a letter to Congressman Kim, and his grant supervisor is on the issue,” said Peterson. “That office has been very helpful and they’re continuing to monitor it. I’m not sure why there is some difference of opinion at the federal level as opposed to the state, but that appears to be the case.”
The borough’s latest proposal is detailed in a lengthy presentation that was presented in July 2021, however the flood mitigation plan is based around several aspects:
- Retrofit and construct six inlets and outfalls with TideFlex valves to prevent backwash during high tides.
- Restore vegetated sand dune and beach habitat along Bayview Avenue.
- Create a aeries of offshore oyster reefs in the bay that will absorb wave action and velocity, plus provide habitat for marine life.
A total of 16 living breakwaters would be installed in the bay off Seaside Park under the proposal (as represented in the images below this paragraph), stretching from the edge of the municipal marina, near the northern terminus of North Bayview Avenue, southward to Brighton Avenue. New dunes would also be constructed along the bayfront in the same area, representing a historical return to the borough’s 1977 shoreline. The current proposal calls for the addition of 2,600 linear feet of beach.
The reefs would be made from 208 Hesco units, a cage-like structure consisting of galvanized steel baskets that are filled with another material. Such units are common in flood-prone areas as well as in deployed military settings, where they are used for security and anti-rocket purposes. There would be 26 segments per reef, 13 segments per row, and the items would measure 196-feet in length. About 50 cubic yards of rock and 75 cubic yards of oyster shells would fill the Hesco units.
Officials in town are also planning to lobby for funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden last year.
“I’ve heard that in the infrastructure bill, there are many millions of dollars being dedicated to beach replenishment,” said Councilman Frank “Fritz” McHugh. “We can put together a good argument that our bayfront deserves a fair share.”
Peterson said he will continue his effort to lobby at multiple levels.
“That formula is still being determined – between states, counties, towns, nonprofits – how this will be divided up,” he said. “We will stay on top of it.”