The Mothers’ Day nor’easter that whipped up waves and led to clouds, rain and high winds all weekend carved a significant chunk out of Ortley Beach’s oceanfront, creating sand “cliffs” and damaging some beach entrances. (A video of the “cliffs” appears above. A video of dune erosion appears below.)
The damage was most pronounced between 4th Avenue and 9th Avenue, the area in front of the former Joey Harrison’s Surf Club property, where the cliffs peaked at about 10-feet in height. Beach entrances in this area were all either closed or largely inaccessible. Toms River Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill said he was planning to survey the area along with the township engineer on Tuesday. The municipal government, he said, is waiting on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to return to scheduled beach maintenance later this year.
“We’ll redo the dunes to shore them up,” said Hill. “As far as lengthening the beach, we have to wait for the Army Corps. That requires a heavy amount of sand, which we won’t be able to scarp off the beach. We’ll get everything set for Memorial Day as much as we can.”
Under a 50-year agreement with the state and local communities, the federal government has agreed to renourish engineered beaches with new sand every seven years or after major storms. For most areas of Ocean County’s northern barrier island, only light replenishment is required, but Ortley Beach will be one of at least two focus areas (the other being Bay Head) where the Army Corps will re-engineer the beaches after analyzing several years of data in order to prevent the beaches from deteriorating again.
“We’re being told that it will be the fall,” said Hill. “I’d have liked to have had it done now, but then again we might have lost the sand over the past weekend.”
While the beaches won’t be expanded in a significant way, it is expected that the natural seasonal shift of sand will add some width to the berm, and officials will have the area looking presentable by Memorial Day weekend.
“We’ll have the entrances open, and if railings are off we’ll replace the railings,” said Hill.