NJDEP Denies North Wildwood Emergency Bulkhead
In a recent twist of events, the City of North Wildwood finds itself at odds with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) as their request to construct a crucial bulkhead has been denied.
The decision comes after the city’s plea for emergency shore protection following the aftermath of multiple January storm events that left a significant section of North Wildwood vulnerable.
The rejection, conveyed through a letter from Colleen Keller, Assistant Director of the NJDEP Division of Land Resource Protection (DLRP), has sparked concerns among residents and city officials.
The denial centers around the proposed construction of a bulkhead between the midpoint of 12th-13th – 15th Avenue, a move intended to mitigate the extensive damage suffered by the beach berm and remnant dune system.
Peter Lomax, Managing Principal of the Lomax Consulting Group, spearheaded the city’s efforts by submitting an Environmental Assessment (EA) on January 19, 2024.
The document underscored the city’s vulnerability, emphasizing the perilous condition of a multi-block section due to the erosion caused by the January storm events.
Lomax, the city’s Environmental Consultant, elucidated that tidal conditions had resulted in a breach of the dune between 13th and 14th Avenues, exacerbating the damage to the dune and the vegetated areas behind it.
The absence of effective shore protection, as emphasized in the EA, raised concerns about accelerating erosion and the impending threat to crucial city infrastructure.
Despite the city’s urgency and a clear demonstration of the imminent risks, the NJDEP’s decision to deny the emergency bulkhead construction has left North Wildwood in a precarious position.
The disagreement between the city and the state agency has prompted North Wildwood to take swift action.
City officials have announced their intent to appeal the NJDEP’s decision promptly. In a bid to overturn the denial, an emergent motion will be filed in the Appellate Division, signaling the city’s determination to prioritize the safety of its residents and infrastructure.
The denial by NJDEP has ignited a broader conversation about the complexities of balancing environmental concerns with the urgent need for protective measures.
North Wildwood now stands at a critical juncture, navigating the delicate balance between preserving natural habitats and safeguarding its community against the relentless forces of nature.
The Wildwood Video Archive stopped by the damaged dunes to film how the dune had been breached and how close the city is to having tons of ocean water flooding the streets. To watch the video scroll down to the bottom of this article.
As the city braces for the legal battle ahead, residents and stakeholders are closely watching the developments, hoping for a resolution that ensures both environmental sustainability and the safety of North Wildwood’s coastal communities.
The outcome of this appeal will undoubtedly set a precedent for future decisions on emergency shore protection measures, shaping the approach to environmental challenges in vulnerable coastal areas across the region.
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