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Ocean County, NJ

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APPROPRIATION / PHASE: Continuing Authorities / Feasibility

BUSINESS PROGRAM: Coastal Storm Damage Reduction

AUTHORITY: The authority for this feasibility study is provided by Section 103 of the River and Harbor Act of 1962, Public Law 87-874, as amended, in accordance with the policies and procedures prescribed by the Chief of Engineers.  Section 103 provides authority for the Corps of Engineers to develop and construct small beach erosion and flood damage reduction projects. Each project is limited to a Federal cost of not more than $5 million, including all project‑related costs for feasibility studies, planning, engineering, design, and construction.

DESCRIPTION: The study area is located along Barnegat Bay in the Borough of Seaside Park , Ocean County, New Jersey. Seaside Park sits on a barrier island approximately 11 miles north of Barnegat Inlet.  The study area includes the bayside shoreline of the Borough of Seaside Park west of Central Avenue and is subject to frequent nuisance flooding from ocean storm surges that propagate into Barnegat Bay via Barnegat Inlet, the dominant tidal connection between the ocean and Barnegat Bay. When storm surge levels in the ocean are of sufficient duration to propagate into Barnegat Bay, the low elevation areas of Seaside Park flood directly, and wind generates waves that pulse additional water into Seaside Park. The Corps investigated the area in 1995 in a reconnaissance report, with a recommendation to proceed with a Section 103 CAP feasibility study.  The NJDEP signed a Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement for a Section 103 CAP Study in September 2011.

STATUS: The District is using the damage information collected by the Borough and FEMA after Hurricane Sandy to rescope the study. After examining the extent of the damages, the District decided to expand the study area to include the entire Borough of Seaside Park.  This rescoping is being coordinated with the local sponsor, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the Borough of Seaside Park. There is increased urgency to complete Seaside Park Bayside Beach Erosion and Storm Damage Reduction Feasibility Study and to implement the recommendations, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy within the Project Area.  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. 

CHALLENGES: One of the technical challenges faced with the project is formulating cost-effective flood protection alternatives that are compatible with highly developed backbay shorelines.  Some of the less costly alternatives for raising elevation (e.g., sand berms, geotubes, etc) may not be feasible because they require a large footprint or would interfere with existing infrastructure (docks, marinas, piers, etc).  Structural options such as bulkheads, revetments, etc. could be cost prohibitive over entire project reaches.

POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS: Any solution to the flooding problem must keep bay water out of Seaside Park or get people and infrastructure out of the way of water (structure elevation, relocation, etc.).  Solutions on the bay side may be a small beach that needs to be evaluated in terms of response to elevated bay water levels, etc. or it may be structural in nature.  The solution proposed in the 1995 Reconnaissance study of Seaside Park was a beachfill and this will be evaluated in the Feasibility study.  However, the most economically efficient elevation (maximum NED benefits) of a sandfill or other barrier may not be institutionally acceptable due to esthetics.  These challenges will be addressed as we move forward with the Feasibility Study.

SPONSOR: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection