NORTH WILDWOOD — The ever-changing Hereford Inlet has led to the loss of beach, with 10- to 12-foot dropoffs along the area of New York and Pine avenues near the seawall. There also has been some beach erosion between Second and Fourth avenues.
Mayor Bill Henfey said Thursday that the area near New York and Pine, which is not among the city’s guarded beaches during the tourist season, lost significant amounts of sand, but the change does not come as a surprise, he said.
“For a couple of years we’ll have beach there, and then for a couple of years we’ll have water there,” he said. “We know that beach comes and goes.”
Stewart Farrell, director of the Richard Stockton Coastal Research Center, said the situation is the result of tidal currents that create a whirlpool effect that moves the sand.
“The tidal channel configuration allows it to develop. They happen, and the cost of trying to control it would be in the millions.” Farrell said, adding it is not an area that ever receives beach replenishment.
Farrell and Henfey advised fishermen and others who travel along the beach to be careful and avoid the area because of the steep dropoffs.
Farrell said the erosion between Second and Fourth avenues is the result of a combination of tidal currents and wave action, an ongoing situation for the area.
“That we’re going to replenish,” Henfey said.
Henfey said the city will likely move some of its own sand, which has been accumulating around the area from 10th to 15th avenues, and use that to fill the eroded area, but that project won’t happen until later in the year. “It’s not anything we’ll do until the season has gone by,” Henfey said.
Earlier this year, the city, in an agreement with Wildwood Crest, moved about 100,000 cubic yards of sand from the borough to the beaches between Third and Fifth avenues and between 22nd and 26th avenues.
Farrell will be conducting a semi-annual oceanfront survey here in mid-October to document the condition of the beach and determine what has happened since the last major beach replenishment project in 2009.
The survey helps the city maintain the changing beach and make repairs. The documentation also is useful if beach is lost to a storm and allows the city to seek funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency if needed.
“You have to show you have taken direct steps to maintain the existing plan (for your beach) that you built,” Farrell said.
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