North Wildwood Dune Repair Completed

Late last week, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in New Jersey granted permission for emergency repairs to address the severe erosion along North Wildwood’s beachfront.

The decision came just in time for Memorial Day weekend, allowing the town to reshape three blocks of dunes and restore public access points, ensuring the safety of beachgoers. These blocks of dunes are located between 12th and 15th Street.

North Wildwood Dune Repair Completed

North Wildwood Dune Repair Completed

Unlike other areas along the Jersey Shore that benefited from beach replenishment this year, North Wildwood and its neighboring coastal communities were left vulnerable to serious erosion.

The lack of this privilege prompted the city to explore immediate solutions, such as reinforcing dunes and constructing an additional steel sea wall to supplement the existing one.

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However, the state consistently denied permission for these measures, expressing concerns that they could worsen erosion by impeding the natural movement of sand carried by waves.

Instead, the DEP advised North Wildwood to continue importing sand from Wildwood, a practice that had worked in the past. Unfortunately, this year it was not feasible due to sections of the beach being inaccessible by vehicles.

As a result, sections of the beach were left with 17-foot tall cliffs where the dunes once stood, and there was a lack of beach space during high tide.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Mayor Patrick Rosenello submitted an emergency application to repair the dune and restore safe beach access. In response, the DEP granted permission, acknowledging the need for immediate action. While this is a victory for North Wildwood, the future of these repairs remains uncertain.

Over the past few days, North Wildwood had been working hard on smoothing, and regrading these dunes. Some say that these smoothed-down dunes look like small hills on the beach.

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Mayor Rosenello expressed his satisfaction with the DEP’s decision, noting that it aligned with the city’s longstanding requests.

However, he highlighted that even with immediate approvals, the federal beach replenishment project in the Wildwoods is not expected to commence for another 18 to 24 months, meaning the city is unlikely to benefit from it before 2025.

In the past, North Wildwood took matters into its own hands by constructing a vinyl and steel bulkhead spanning approximately 10 blocks without state authorization.

This initiative, undertaken separately from the latest bulkhead proposal, was deemed necessary to protect lives and property. However, the city has now agreed to postpone the latest bulkhead project.

Mayor Rosenello confirmed that the city has resubmitted applications through regular channels to obtain permission for more extensive beach work. This approach aims to shift away from relying on emergency approvals, which have been sought since last autumn.

Pasquale Varrone took to the beach yesterday to document the beach’s new look. Let us know what you think of the work.