UT Beach
An emergency sea wall was constructed to try and curb the erosion on the north end beaches of Strathmere in Upper Township, which saw extreme erosion over the last year due to coastal storms.

UPPER TOWNSHIP - Nearly one-fourth of an upcoming state beach fill project in Strathmere will help rebuild Corsons Inlet State Park, which virtually disappeared from erosion last year.

In a presentation to the Township Committee on Monday, the state Department of Environmental Protection said 203,000 of 891,000 cubic yards of sand will be pumped onto Strathmere's north end to rebuild this former natural area.

The park was hit hardest by erosion during the past two years as more than 80 acres of dunes and scrub disappeared into Corsons Inlet.

The erosion threatened to swamp several beachfront homes along Seaview Avenue.

Residents erected a steel wall that was bolstered by a rock sea wall the township built last year.

The project is designed to fill in a secondary channel that carved away the beach nearest Strathmere's north-end homes. Once that channel is filled in, the beach should begin to expand naturally in coming years, said Ben Keiser, manager of the state Bureau of Coastal Engineering.

This beach has a history of expansion and contraction, he said.

The remainder of the 891,000 cubic yards will be pumped from Seaview Avenue south to the border of Sea Isle City. Township officials asked the state to consider pumping more sand on the beaches if the bids came in under budget.

Keiser said sand would be pumped onto the beaches to meet the designed profile, regardless of whether the project cost more or less than expected.

"If there is more money for dune fencing or grass, we'll talk to the municipality at that time. We are building it strictly to the design," Keiser said.

The Upper Township dredging project is part of a larger $20.5 million contract with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock that includes dredging in Sea Isle City and North Wildwood with an option for Stone Harbor.

The state plans to replenish beaches the length of Strathmere and pump 395,000 cubic yards between First and 15th streets and 40th to 52nd streets in Sea Isle City. In North Wildwood, the state will pump 1.2 million cubic yards of sand between Terminal Groin at Second Avenue south to the border of Wildwood. If Stone Harbor is included, the state will pump 245,000 cubic yards of sand from 98th to 111th streets.

"We have a 60-day window to award work for Stone Harbor. We're in the process of getting that to occur," Keiser said. "It's a very narrow beach and a good candidate for a beach fill."

The Strathmere beach project should improve boat navigation in Corsons Inlet but the project is not specifically designed for that purpose, Keiser said.

Upper Township is contributing about $1.23 million of the $6 million cost for the Strathmere project. The state is paying the remainder, including all work in the former state park.

The dredge Illinois is expected to be mobilized around July 7 pending federal approvals. The timeline for construction will extend 180 days from the start date, but the latter part of the work will consist of replacing outfall pipes and building beach steps, Keiser said.

Contractors will have to work around a single black skimmer nest in Strathmere and any other discovered piping plover nests or least tern colonies workers might discover. Workers also will monitor beachfront homes to make sure vibrations from the dredge work do not damage them, Keiser said.

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