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APPROPRIATION / PHASE: General Investigations / Feasibility

BUSINESS PROGRAM: Flood & Coastal Storm Damage Reduction

AUTHORITY: The Hereford Inlet to Cape May General Investigation was undertaken by authority of The New Jersey Shore Protection Study, by resolutions adopted within the Committee on Public Works and Transportation of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the U.S. Senate in December 1987.

LOCATION The study area includes Five Mile Island, located on the Atlantic Coast of New Jersey between Hereford and Cape May Inlets in Cape May County. 

DESCRIPTION: The project area consists of the municipalities of North Wildwood, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and Lower Township. These municipalities are vulnerable to storm damage all year round from a combination of hurricanes and nor’easters. The project area will be restricted to the beachfront, and tapered at the southern and northern ends at Hereford Inlet and the USFW/Coast Guard properties.  The Non-Federal sponsor is the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). 

The City of North Wildwood is experiencing significant erosion of its berm and dune. What was the largest beach in the state now suffers from tidal flooding and wave run-up over a formerly protective beach. The municipality of North Wildwood has lost approximately 1,000 feet of beach during the past 5-10 years.  

In contrast to North Wildwood, sand accretion in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest is causing extensive maintenance problems and health hazards with their storm water management system. The excess sand clogs storm-water outfalls, creates pools of stagnant water, produces unhealthy beach conditions and causes associated interior flooding . During combined periods of heavy rain and high waves the City can not access the outfalls for excavation and rainwater becomes trapped within the pipes. The subsequent high volume discharge of impounded storm water can also cause spikes in poor water quality.

The entire island experiences storm damages and the modeling preformed during the feasibility analysis identified a plan that will reduce storm damages from coastal events across all of the municipalities involved.  

Planning for resiliency, robustness and redundancy as a result of the direction provided from higher authority as a result of the impacts from Hurricane Sandy will require further analysis in the Planning Engineering and Design phase. Management measures that were screened out that can be re-evaluated include; constructing bulkheads around the piers, and the prevention of backbay flooding through green infrastructure and bulkhead reconstruction.  Funds were received from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, Public Law 113-2, enacted to assist in the recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

STATUS: The project successfully completed a Civil Works Review Board on 21 August 2014 and obtained a signed Chief’s Report on 23 January 2015.  Following Congressional notification, the district will begin the Planning Engineering and Design (PED) phase, sign a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) and to begin the initial construction. 

PROJECT GOALS:  The purpose of this project is to evaluate erosion and storm damage potential for the municipalities on Five Mile Island. It presently includes a constructed berm and dune extending from Hereford Inlet in North Wildwood to existing dunes in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest using backpassing technology.  The creation of a dune and berm from Hereford to Cape May will reduce risk from coastal storms.

BACKPASSING TECHNOLOGY: Provides high quality sand as  an alternative to offshore borrow areas, reduces beach maintenance, has lower emissions than traditional dredging and will not impact cultural or environmental resources within Hereford Inlet.

SPONSOR: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.