East Point Lighthouse

The dune system protecting the East Point Lighthouse was compromised during 2018’s nor’easters, putting it in danger of being flooded in another storm. Workers piled sand in front of the lighthouse as an emergency measure, but a Geotube is expected to be installed there this summer.

MAURICE RIVER TOWNSHIP — The more than 160-year-old East Point Lighthouse, threatened by rising sea levels and erosion, has been named among the most threatened historic places in New Jersey.

The nonprofit Preservation New Jersey released its 2019 ranking of the 10 most endangered historic sites in the state on the steps of the Statehouse in Trenton on Thursday.

“The mouth of the Maurice River and the adjacent bayshore is rapidly eroding, and tidal waters are now threatening the lighthouse,” according to the list.

East Point Lighthouse stands out on the list as one of the only places under threat from natural forces. The majority face demolition from developers and government entities.

Over the past few years, there’s been a push from local, state and federal stakeholders to protect the mid-1800s structure from rising waters. But no long-term plan has been put in place.

Two pump stations were installed in the lighthouse’s basement in 2017 to push out flood waters as part of a $650,000 restoration project headed by the federal government and state Historic Trust Fund.

This summer, the state Department of Environmental Protection will stretch a 900-foot-long Geotube — a sediment-filled sleeve of textile fabric intended to serve as a bulwark against water — from a nearby boat ramp to a bulkhead outside the lighthouse. Huge sandbags put around the perimeter of the structure have been a short-term solution.

“We’ve just been putting a Band-Aid over the problem,” Nancy Patterson, lighthouse caretaker and president of the Maurice River Township Historical Society, previously said of the ongoing situation.

Built in 1849, East Point Lighthouse acted as a guide for fishermen and boaters at the mouth of the Maurice River. It was deeded to the state Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife in 1956, but following more than a decade of vandalism and damage from weather, the local historical society took over.