Long story short - That’s why you can’t step on the
dunes. And you really need to stay away from the cute
little grasses that are trying to take root. So, behave.
I drove around Cape May Point looking at all the other beach paths
and each one has changed thanks to the Army Corps of Engineer’s
Beach Replenishment Project.
Actually, the fact that there are beaches where there were none is
really thanks to the perseverance of Cape May Point Mayor Malcolm
Frasier who began his push to replenish the beaches back in 1991
when he met with former U.S. Rep. William Hughes, D.-2nd. Initially
the tiny borough of Cape May Point was ineligible for federal money
– the small population did not justify the use of federal funds. But
also in 1991, President George Bush issued a directive allowing the
Corps to consider beach projects to protect natural areas. As any
good birder knows, Cape May Point plays host to one of the greatest
migratory shows in the world each spring and fall because of an
internationally significant wetlands complex. This distinction made
it eligible for the federal sand dollars.
Now the details.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers’ feasibility report: “The
complex interaction of the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean has
led to persistent shoreline erosion within the study area. This has
been aggravated by the construction of the Federal navigation
project at Cape May Inlet, with resultant erosion along the Meadows
shoreline averaging 15 feet per year. This unstable shoreline has
necessitated repeated local action in the form of construction and
rehabilitation of numerous groins, beach nourishment, and dune
construction since the 1930s.”
The project benefits the City of Cape May, beginning at 3rd Avenue
heading nearly 2 miles west to Central Avenue in Cape May Point. The
project also benefits the neighboring land-locked borough of West
Cape May which has fallen victim to many a costal storm over the
years when the ocean comes up and floods the borough. The last time
this happened was in 1985 during Hurricane Gloria.
Beach construction began in mid-November and approximately 1.4
million – that’s MILLION- cubic yards of sand was dredged in. The
Corps expects to replenish the beach with another 650,000 cubic
yards every 4 years. The cost of the project can be divided into two
phases. Phase One pumped in 850,000 cubic yards of sand for a total
cost of $5.1 Million in federal money. Then, a funny thing happened
– the Corps ran out of money. They needed an additional $3.9 million
to finish pumping in the remaining 600,000 cubic yards of sand.
A spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia
District said the Corps found moneys from other areas in the country
which were “reprogrammed” so the project could be completed without
any further complications. Had the project been delayed, an
additional cost of $1 million would have been needed to remobilize
the dredging company.
Now the good stuff.
This summer’s tourists will be delighted to find beaches where once
there were none
or very little of one. The towns of Cape May, West
Cape May and Cape May Point are deliriously happy because the
tourists will be delighted and will want to come here more and stay
longer. Yes, there are a few merchants and fisherman who aren’t
thrilled with the changes but in the final analysis the changes will
have been for the greater good and for the preservation of our
little piece of paradise.