Army Corps to dredge Barnegat Inlet and place sand off Harvey Cedars, NJ

Published June 10, 2021
The Army Corps-owned dredge MURDEN conducts dredging operations in Barnegat Inlet, NJ in 2017.

The Army Corps-owned dredge MURDEN conducts dredging operations in Barnegat Inlet, NJ in 2017.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced details for an upcoming project that will involve dredging the Barnegat Inlet navigation channel and placing the sand in the nearshore area off Harvey Cedars, N.J.

The Dredge MURDEN is expected to arrive around July 6th and will conduct dredging and placement operations for 30 to 45 days.

The Army Corps conducts dredging in Barnegat Inlet twice annually. Normally, the sand is deposited offshore of Barnegat Light. For this project, sand will be placed in the nearshore area (approximately 200 yards) off Harvey Cedars (roughly between Hudson Avenue south to Union Avenue).

Project Purpose

The project involves dredging a large amount of sediment from the Barnegat Inlet navigation channel, which is critical for the U.S. Coast Guard and a large commercial fishing fleet. Additionally, the nearshore placement aspect allows for the testing of an innovative method to support the federal dune-and-beachfill project on Long Beach Island. The chosen placement area in Harvey Cedars has historically experienced chronic erosion.

Project Background

Work is part of a two-phase effort being conducted in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The project is one of 10 selected nationwide for testing innovative approaches to the beneficial use of dredged sediment. The other phase of the project, completed in December 2020, involved dredging the Oyster Creek federal channel in Barnegat Bay and using the sediment to begin creating an island habitat in the bay.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will this operation make noise like beachfill projects in the past?

No, it will involve no land-based construction equipment, which is the source of the noise during large-scale beachfill operations. For this project, the government dredge MURDEN (pictured on previous page) will dig in the federal channel between the Barnegat Inlet jetties, transit to Harvey Cedars, and deposit the sand in the nearshore area. 

Is it a 24/7 operation like traditional beachfill projects?

Yes. The MURDEN will conduct dredging and placement operations 24 hours a day. Each cycle takes 3-3.5 hours so the project team estimates the dredge may complete 7-8 placements per day. 

Do swimmers and beachgoers need to take any precautions?

Please follow instructions of lifeguards. Swimming and recreation near the dredge while it’s placing sand in the nearshore area will be prohibited. It’s important to point out the dredge will be placing sand approximately 200 yards off the beach.  

Will the deposition of sand off the beach affect water quality?

No. The dredge will be digging clean sand in Barnegat Inlet that is part of the same system as sand along the Long Beach Island oceanfront. After the MURDEN completes a cycle and places sand in the nearshore area, there may be brief periods where water clarity is affected, but the project team anticipates the sand will settle quickly.

What are the instruments that were placed in the water?

Three pressure sensors mounted on pipes will be deployed (mid to late June) within the ocean near the beach at depths of approximately 5 ft and 20 ft to measure waves and associated hydrodynamics. Swimmers and surfers should avoid these poles to ensure their own safety as well as the quality of the data collection. These wave gauges will capture data associated with evolving conditions at the site.

Steve Rochette

Release no. 21-014