Monmouth Beach will add dunes, restore marshes


Monmouth Beach will receive a federal matching grant of $1.78 million to build a beachfront dune system and reinforce the marsh islands in the Shrewsbury River for greater protection from storms.

The funding, awarded by the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) under the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program, was announced June 17.

The projects will be completed in two phases, according to Borough Engineer Bonnie Heard.

“The first project is the reconstruction of the dunes, and the second one is the permitting portion and preliminary design for the marsh islands out in the river,” she said.

“This is going to rebuild all of the dunes, so it will matter for storm protection and various other types of elements. The same with the other side — by rebuilding these islands, it is going to provide some storm protection.”

According to the grant stipulations, the borough will receive $1.78 million and will be required to provide $1.75 million in matching funds to construct a 6,400-foot coastal dune system and restore 17 acres of marshland.

Heard said the dunes will run the entire length of the beachfront — from the Sea Bright border to the Long Branch border — although there will be a few public-access points where the dunes will not be built.

The dune project comes on the heels of a 2013 beach-replenishment project funded by the Army Corps of Engineers. Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright were included in the first phase of the project, which widened beaches eroded by superstorm Sandy from Sea Bright to the Manasquan Inlet.

The borough owns the marsh islands in the Shrewsbury River.

“There are a couple of islands located in the river, closer to the Sea Bright border,” Heard said, adding that the plan is to use dredge spoils from a river channel-dredging project undertaken by the Army Corps to build up the islands. Heard said some of the $1.75 million matching portion would be funded using inkind services.

“We won’t have to go out and buy the dredge spoils, but they are included, and some of [the work] is being done by different civic groups,” she said. “The contribution amount, which is $1.75 million, also includes things being done.”

No timeline is in place for the start of the work, but Heard said she anticipates it will begin this fall.

Once the paperwork is completed, the borough will hold public meetings and also meet with individual groups to discuss the projects, she said.

The grants are part of the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program, which is funded through a superstorm Sandy disaster relief appro- priation and administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

“With our partners at the Department of the Interior and its bureaus, we will work to restore natural resiliency in the states devastated by [superstorm] Sandy,” Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF, said in a press release. “We will make sure these funds are used effectively, efficiently and transparently to help ecosystems recover and to protect communities from future storms.”

The DOI announced $102.7 million in competitive matching grants for 54 projects in 12 states and the District of Columbia to support local efforts to stabilize beaches, restore wetlands, improve the hydrology of coastal areas, improve infrastructure and assist planning for storms.

New Jersey, which received funding for 13 projects, is required to begin work within six months of the award date.

Projects must also be completed within 24 months.