Dune restoration is not moving fast enough to protect Manasquan in the next hurricane season, local officials said.
Manasquan Mayor George Dempsey said the borough is “particularly vulnerable” without its beachfront dunes, which were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
Although a beach restoration project is approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, the project is separate from a state initiative to build engineered dunes.
Dempsey criticized the speed state agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection is moving to facilitate dune restoration along the Jersey Shore.
“With another hurricane season coming, and no dunes, we are particular vulnerable,” said Dempsey at this week’s council meeting.
The engineered dune project would spell out how high, how wide and where a dune system should be in Manasquan, and other towns' specifics. But the state hasn't come up with those figures, said borough council members, and they'd hoped to have them by now.
For Dempsey, the issue is a matter of protecting residents and borough property.
The mayor said Manasquan has no street serving as a buffer between the beach and the first block of homes. It is the asphalt walkway and a 10 foot buffer of sand before private property begins, and there are no dunes existing now on the beachfront.
“We aren’t Sea Girt or Spring Lake who have a road between,” Dempsey said.
The mayor is hoping the government agencies will act swiftly to restore the dunes. The beach remains flattened by the storm, although the borough sifted the beach of debris from Hurricane Sandy. The asphalt “boardwalk” was repaved and a silt fence installed.
Business Administrator Joe DeIorio said the Army Corps of Engineers beach replenishment engineers should be in Manasquan in August, and the borough had hopes the Engineers' work would help enable the state to better compile its dune figures, but that may not be possible.
DeIorio said the borough could make use of a state emergency permit to create "a pile of sand" on the beach for an emergency purpose, but if the sand would remain it would be classified as an existing dune in the eyes of the state DEP, and could possibly hurt Manasquan's efforts to engineer stronger dunes by the state.