Parts of the iconic Highway 12 through the Outer Banks of North Carolina need to be replaced after Hurricane Matthew. Just like parts that needed to be replaced from the previous storm, and the one before that. When coastal geologists tell you this is going to keep happening (in case the stark reality of it is not enough for you) – why wouldn’t you move this road? The Virginia Pilot’s Jeff Hampton talks about the cost of it all in this article.
Henk Ovink Has Nothing on Marit Noest
Readers of these pages will recognize the Netherland’s Henk Ovink. He is the Dutchman who came to the US after Sandy to share his country’s expertise in resilient designs for living with and staying safe from flooding.
He was also profiled in the NY Times Magazine around the time of the Rebuild by Design Competition that he led.
But a Dutch graduate student in landscape architecture may be giving him a run for his money. Marit Noest came to NJ two years after Sandy and after completely un-learning the Dutch way of doing things, she successfully wrapped her head around the American approach to the situation. She made a film called At the Edge for her graduate thesis which incorporates people’s attitudes towards rebuilding and using and enjoying the shore. She also made a terrific design for a stronger Asbury Park beachfront that lets people enjoy what the shore has to offer while making it much more resilient.
Trailer of the film here. And a presentation of Marit’s thesis plus the film here
We encourage you to fully explore everything about the project here. https://creatingattheedge.wordpress.com/
Dunes; No Easements, No Army Corps, No Problem
The biggest and best set of dunes in NJ just got bigger and better thanks to the recent Nor’easter. No federal agency was involved, nor were any taxpayer dollars, and there was no messy legal fuss involving easements or eminent domain. Great article and pictures here.
This same set of dunes was already on Rethink after Sandy, with a 5 minute video linked to this post.
Beachfill and Safety
Beach replenishment is one of the only tools in the Army Corps of Engineers’ toolbox, not to mention the largest. We have said it deserves a critical eye for quite some time now, and Delaware Beach Life magazine did just that from the safety perspective. Lynn R. Parks takes a good hard look here, one needs to register to see the full article, but it is free and well worth typing in your name and email.
If one more person breaks their neck on a replenished beach will all that expensive, temporary property protection be worth it?
The $24 Million Mile
Beach replenishment has always been expensive, and we can distinctly remember a project in 2008 when the cost reached the $10 million-a-mile mark. So we found it astounding that the recent beachfill in Monmouth County from Loch Arbour to Deal, NJ – a stretch of 1.6 miles – clocks in at a whopping $38.2 million. That’s damn near $24 million a mile. But wait there’s more. This beachfill does not even include dunes, only flat, wide beaches the kind that provided no protection from Hurricane Sandy. The kind of beachfill that Spring Lake, Belmar, Monmouth Beach, and Sea Bright all had. Yet those towns suffered devastating losses as a result of Sandy.
At any price, we think the impacts on recreation, the loss of surf breaks and fishing habitat are not worth it. The disgusting sand is not worth it. And the band-aid applied to our poor coastal planning and development is not worth it. But at $24 million a mile, this practice needs some serious thought. There are 127 miles of NJ oceanfront. At this rate, that’s $3 Billion, on top of the $1 Billion already spent on replenishment in this state. Can you think of anything you would rather have the federal government do with $3 Billion?
Good just-the-facts-ma’am kind of reporting in this NJ Spotlight article by Scott Gurian is where we pulled the numbers from.
Jenkinson’s Lawsuit on Dunes / Easements
Oh boy, this sure does complicate things. Now big beach businesses are pushing back, against big beach replenishment and dune projects; not just single family homeowners. For the record, the lawyer quoted in this article actually seems to know what he’s talking about. By MaryAnn Spoto of the Star Ledger http://www.nj.com/ocean/index.ssf/2014/12/jenkinsons_suing_feds_state_over_beach_replenishment_plan.html#incart_m-rpt-1
Can we agree that all this beach replenishment, which is really expensive, and does not really work, is getting to be more and more of a hassle? Can we try pulling back from the water’s edge a bit? Give the most dynamic system on earth a little bit more Room to Move? We know that retreat sounds very hard, but compared to this? Maybe not so much.
The Politics of Building Dunes
Natural dunes are something that everyone in a coastal community supports. Man-made dunes, the kind the Army Corps of Engineers builds, have less support often because they are less effective, they are often part of bad beachfill projects, and because a select few people don’t like the fact that their view will be blocked (although they seem to get all the headlines). But the real opposition comes when you want to build those dunes on people’s private property, and the government demands an easement on that property forever. NJ Governor Chris Christie has made a few enemies where he should have friends, as told in this AP story Nov, 30, 2014.
Part Two of Reuters Sea Level Rise Series
Mick Huckabee feels “blessed” to have a $3 million, 11,000 square foot beachfront vacation home in Florida. We think he is blessed to have federally subsidized flood insurance and a Florida DEP that basically looks the other way and approves every application to build houses where beaches and protective dunes really should be. That is just one of the stories in part 2 of Reuters’ series on Sea Level Rise.
Part 2 is as good as the first. http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/waters-edge-the-crisis-of-rising-sea-levels/#article-2-against-the-tide This is reporting at its best folks. I urge you to read the in-depth piece by Deborah J. Nelson, Ryan McNeill and Duff Wilson.
Shored Up Film in Rumson
NJ Future brings you a screening of the excellent film about beach Replenishment, Shored Up. The film will be shown in Rumson on September 20, 2014 at the Holy Cross School 40 Rumson Road, 7PM to 9PM. This is right next to Sea Bright, which has been called the most engineered beach in NJ. There will be a panel discussion after the film with the film maker and experts appearing in the film.
Beachfill is Causing Sea Girt to Flood
You know they add sand to a beach to prevent flooding. But we have already explained how that doesn’t really work unless dunes are built too. However, here is a case where beachfill caused flooding. Carol Gorga Williams in the Asbury Park Press, August 9th.
It reminded us of this incident nine years ago. Glad we saved the clipping.