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New Jersey coastal town defies DEP orders to carry out its own coastal restoration

NORTH WILDWOOD, N.J. (AP) — The town of Jersey Shore is worth $12 million to stop bulldozing beach sand to reinforce eroded spots in defiance of state environmental officials. Even fines are not enough.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said North Wildwood most recently violated a judge-imposed February court order on June 5 in trying to clean up 10 years of sand without state approval. announced that it had again carried out unauthorized restoration of eroded dunes. A storm rages between them.

On Thursday, DEP Administrator Sean Latourette sent a letter to North Wildwood authorities suggesting a last-ditch effort to resolve the issue without imposing additional penalties, and that the city’s actions will help fund future coastal protection projects. warned that it would endanger the

Mr Latourette said he was “embarrassed” by the actions of the city of North Wildwood, which he said had “repeatedly committed destructive and illegal acts in the name of tourism and possibly public safety”. wrote. This is wrong and must stop. “

Mayor Patrick Rosenero said the state was to blame for the city’s failure to pursue the same kind of government-funded coastal replenishment project that most other Jersey Shore communities have had for decades.

“The DEP needs to spend more time defending Jersey Shore than spending time threatening and intimidating,” he said. “If they were just doing their job none of this would have happened and it would all have gone away. It’s really amazing.”

The city recently put up a sign at the beach entrance with pictures and phone numbers of Mr. Latourette and Democratic Gov. There is a message.

North Wildwood appears unfazed by the state’s fines and further threats. The state is suing the state for $21 million to recoup the cost of trucking sand to a 10-year eroded beach.

Conflicts between the state and the city, a major holiday destination for Philadelphia residents, have made it difficult to obtain the necessary approvals, leaving North Wildwood last in line for shore replenishment by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It focuses on the fact that it is placed. from property owners. That long-awaited project is finally moving forward, but it won’t happen until at least 2025.

As a result, parts of the city’s coastline are severely eroded, and when the city feels the dunes are in danger, it takes steps to reinforce the dunes on its own, often without state permits.

DEP says the situation is actually getting worse, with dunes weakening and decreasing in height each time heavy machinery displaces sand, destroying natural plant and animal habitat.

The parties reached a temporary truce in late May after erosion had created steep cliffs where the beach entrance had stood, making the situation dangerous just before the start of Memorial Day weekend. At that time, the state granted a one-time permit to make temporary repairs along the coast.

The dune construction was virtually completed on June 5, but the city asked for approval the next day, but the city did not. However, Rozenero said the city had notified the DEP in advance of what it planned to do on the beach.

He also said the city believes the erosion ahead of construction on June 5 is a continuation of the same problem that led the state to grant emergency permits in May. It is therefore justified for the city to restore the dunes again, he said.

“It was exactly the same work in the exact same place,” he said. “There’s so little left of this dune that it doesn’t need a direct hurricane hit to completely disappear.”

On Friday, sand dunes in the hardest-hit areas of the conflict epicenter shrunk by about 70% compared to May, before the last two rounds of reshaping by city officials.

Latourette said the DEP is “ready to resolve millions of dollars in fines owed to the city for repeated illegal and environmentally destructive activities.”

But he said North Wildwood “must immediately cease and end these patterns and practices of law violations.” You are jeopardizing the city’s access to continued financial support for public safety, the environment, and coastal protection. “


Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC

https://www.mcall.com/2023/07/07/what-will-it-take-to-stop-jersey-shore-town-from-bulldozing-its-beach-12m-in-fines-hasnt-done-it-2/ New Jersey coastal town defies DEP orders to carry out its own coastal restoration

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