Bay Head beach repairs follow weekend storm

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After damage following the Memorial Day weekend storm, repairs are being made to ensure all access points to the beachfront will be available come opening day on June 19. (MARK R. SULLIVAN/THE OCEAN STAR)

BAY HEAD — Beachfront repairs are being completed after torrential rain and heavy winds caused damage and erosion over Memorial Day weekend.  

“We did lose more beach. Again in the middle of town,” Tom Gage, president of the Bay Head Improvement Association [BHIA], told The Ocean Star on Tuesday. 

“We lost some fencing that actually was knocked down by the water and about four of our access points need to be repushed, regraded, which we are doing as we speak, and that is basically the area from Karge [Street] down to Howe Street.

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“We will get it leveled out again … and some of the fencing will have to be moved more westward and we are going to have to move it up higher and hopefully it won’t be lost again so they are doing it as we speak.”

Erosion and other damage to the local beachfront caused by recent storms has been a heavy topic of discussion among borough leaders and residents in recent months. 

In February, Mayor William Curtis met with Congressman Chris Smith [R-4], representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection [DEP], Ocean County Commissioner Joseph H. Vicari, Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano and members of the borough council to discuss the significant safety concerns posed by more than 18-foot vertical sand-dune cliffs created by Winter Storm Orlena that hit the Jersey Shore Feb. 1 to 3, as well as erosion occurring throughout the years along the beachfront. At the time, the Army Corps had determined that the coastal storm was not a qualifying event for full emergency federal funding.

Only recently did the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] declare the February storm a major disaster. Rep. Smith has requested a follow-up meeting with the Army Corps to revisit and reassess the severe beach erosion the borough and other shore towns sustained due to the storm.

The BHIA has set June 19 as the opening date for the beach season in the borough and the Bay Head Beach Revitalization Project has been underway throughout the last several weeks to help ensure all access points are ready for the day.

“I am at the beach right now at Bridge Avenue and it is quite a drop,” Mayor Curtis told The Ocean Star on June 1, in regard to the weekend’s storm damage. “It’s about 5 to 6 feet. It didn’t come any farther up the dune, but they lost a lot of fence. 

“They are going to put some more fencing up again and push sand to try and restore the access ways. Really Mount Street, Howe, Bridge, Harris Street, and Karge got hit pretty badly, but a lot of sand came in yesterday from the ocean.”

This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.

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