Sea Girt Lighthouse
Sea Girt, New Jersey
May 21, 1996
MEMBERS OF COMMISSION PRESENT:
Senator Andrew R. Ciesla, Chairman
Assemblyman John C. Gibson, Vice-Chairman
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora
Norbert P. Psuty, Ph.D.
George J. LeBlanc
Office of Legislative Services
Aide, State Beach Erosion Commission
(Internet edition 1997)
SENATOR ANDREW R. CIESLA (Chairman): Thank you very much for attending. The breeze is blowing through here. I was fearful that it was going to be very hot when we were inside, but it certainly feels as if it's going to accommodate us.
My name is Andy Ciesla, for those of you that don't know me. I'm a member of the Beach Erosion Commission, recently appointed as Chairman, from the 10th Legislative District. Joining us at the head table is our Vice-Chairman, Jack Gibson, from the 1st District -- Assemblyman Jack Gibson. Next to him is Steve Kempf, former FEMA Director, now with a prestigious engineering firm. Also joining us on the Committee is Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, the Assemblyman from the 15th District, which encompasses Princeton, New Jersey, and the newest member of our panel. So we wish to welcome him. And Norb Psuty, as well, from Rutgers, is here.
What we would like to do today, and we're going to try to move the meeting as quickly as possible because we understand the heat. No one could have ever imagined that it was going to be 95 or 100 degrees before Memorial Day. That certainly is an anomaly. I think what we are having now is cold winters, hot summers, but they're here. Hopefully, we'll have great beach conditions for that.
What I would like to do first is to bring up Dr. Peter Halas, Sea Girt Councilman, who is our host here today along with the Lighthouse, for some welcoming remarks.
C O U N C I L M A N P E T E R H A L A S, M.D.: Thank you.
SENATOR CIESLA: There's a mike right there, Doctor. By the way, anyone who testifies has to use the mike because the Office of Legislative Services is recording this and will be producing a transcript.
DR. HALAS: On behalf of Mayor Ahern, my fellow council members, and the citizens of Sea Girt, I would like to welcome everyone here today, especially Senator Ciesla and the other distinguished members of his panel. We have Mr. Moore, from the DEP; Ted Keon, from the Army Corps of Engineers; and Ken Smith, our Coastal Advocate. I want to thank them for their efforts on behalf of beach preservation and for their time taken to date to update all of us on the status of current projects and, also, the long-term plans to protect our beaches. The financial importance of beach and related travel and tourism moneys creating economies and employment, producing State and Federal tax revenues is well known to us all. And beach areas have historical significance, as exemplified by this lighthouse celebrating its 100th anniversary year.
Why do people flock to beaches in such enormous numbers? We may not realize it consciously, but the beach, like no other area, integrates all of our senses, soothing yet stimulating.
Our sense of smell, our first cranial nerve, is our most powerful link to memory. The smell of the salt air invigorates us immediately. The lights sparkling on the water stimulates our sense of sight, so important for the maintenance of mood. Doctors prescribe light therapy for a thing called seasonal affective disorder. The rhythm of the waves is well known to be soothing and has been imitated by many human forms from video and audio tapes to mantras and Gregorian chant. Sand on their bare feet and soft, cooling breezes say as much as you can say about the sense of touch. And how good does a sandwich and a cold drink taste just off the beach, here, in Sea Girt?
Also, the constancy of the waves and the billions of grains of sand provide perspective for thinking. I guess that's probably down to half a billion. Less philosophically, more pragmatically, the beach areas are relatively insect nuisance free. Every nice day from May through September in Sea Girt and neighboring towns you will see young children playing in the sand in the shallows; school-age children running and swimming and body boarding; teens surfing and socializing; parents enjoying their children at play; runners and brisk walkers getting great aerobic exercise on the boardwalk surface that's easy on the hips and with scenery to make the miles go by. Seniors walking that same boardwalk surface for their needed exercise can also be found. And our handicapped enjoy the same access we all do for the sensory appreciation that we all can enjoy on the beach and most of these are enjoyed most of the year-round.
However, as we all know, dramatically shrinking beaches and recent damaging storms have alerted us that the beach and the boardwalks in this area could soon be gone. Water and wind that move with power and sand that's free to move make beaches a very dynamic interface. The meeting of human development and this dynamic has to occur someplace, sometime, but it is occurring in our area at this time, and we must take steps to ensure the access for all of our citizens to this most valuable resource. The access we have developed is very efficient and multiuser friendly and deserves our protective efforts. It is, however, very vulnerable both imminently and recurrently.
Other natural resources -- mountains, canyons, lakes, and forests -- aren't dynamic. They're not going anywhere. They aren't vulnerable, and they are not accessible to all of our groups all year round. And they have more bugs.
In summary, I'd like to stress that our most sensory complete, entire-population-accessible, user-friendly, avidly sought year round, numerically superior, economically sound, but dynamic natural resource is imminently threatened to become inaccessible. I would offer that if any Federal or State moneys are to be spent on recreational natural resources that beach preservation deserves to be at the top of the list.
I would gladly turn the podium over to those in the front lines of projects and decisions affecting the future of our beaches. We, in Sea Girt, are especially interested in the status of the State negotiations concerning easements, the timing of the replenishment project, and the risk of losing funding for replenishment if delays go into the next fiscal year.
SENATOR CIESLA: Thank you very much, Dr. Halas.
DR. HALAS: I tried to say that as quickly as I could.
SENATOR CIESLA: I was going to the speed listening course on that, but thank you very much.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: Mr. Chairman, I'd like the Doctor to share his comments with the total Committee, because those of us that represent other shore areas may use that from time to time, particularly those medical reasons of why our shore-- (remainder of comment indiscernible due to laughter)
SENATOR CIESLA: We'll give you Assemblyman Jack Gibson's address so you can bill him appropriately for that medical advice.
Prior to bringing up Bernie Moore from the NJDEP, I'd like to welcome the members of the Committee to make any remarks, starting with Steve Kempf.
MR. KEMPF: Well, yes. I don't mean to steal any of your thunder, but I find it rather interesting that today, or this week, it's the Governor's Conference on Emergency Management, and one of the appearances to be made is by the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who in his discretionary powers, has chosen to use mitigation money to shakeproof structures out in California without encouraging people to move away from those faults. Yet, on the East Coast, they are drying up funds saying that we should not perpetuate building or living at the shore. I find that kind of a dichotomy. I think when you get to your resolution, it will have that much more meaning.
SENATOR CIESLA: Thank you, Steve.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: Mr. Chairman, I'll forgo any introductory remarks due to the heat and look forward to the speakers that you have.
SENATOR CIESLA: Thank you very much.
ASSEMBLYMAN GUSCIORA: I'm just excited to be on the Committee. This is my first assignment for first-year Assemblyman, and I'd just like to demonstrate statewide commitment, being from the West Coast of New Jersey, that we should have a statewide commitment in our valued treasure of the beach on the East Coast.
SENATOR CIESLA: Thank you very much for coming, appreciate those comments.
DR. PSUTY: No comments at this time. I look forward to the information that's coming forward from the representatives.
SENATOR CIESLA: Okay, thank you very much.
Then, with no further ado, Bernie Moore, from the NJDEP. Give us the good news and moderate the bad news, please.
B E R N A R D J. M O O R E: I only have good news. I'll just show these charts up here -- my standard charts that I present. It shows the projects that the Corps and the State are involved in right now. In the construction phase are in the orange, and the red is the study phases that we are in. Basically, we can see that the entire shore line of the coast is under some form of State or Army Corps project. I'll let Bill Slezak, from the New York District, and Ted, from the Philadelphia District, expound on some of the projects.
Of course, the job that the State of New Jersey has is to get all the necessary easements and right-of-ways for the construction work. And currently, we are working with the City of Long Branch and the County of Monmouth in getting the easements and right-of-ways for the Long Branch project, which, hopefully, within a couple of weeks, we should have that fairly well squared away.
Here in Sea Girt, we have been working very closely with the Borough of Sea Girt, the municipal officials, the attorney, and the property owners, trying to overcome some of the problems that we have in getting the necessary easements. I think those negotiations are moving ahead, and I do think that within a few weeks, we should have some resolution to those.
All of the other easements and right-of-ways that we need in Belmar, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, and Manasquan have been obtained, and we're just waiting to move forward here. So our target is still to have a construction job on-line by the middle of August and to get some work moving down in the Manasquan area, which I consider to be one of the most vulnerable areas in this reach.
So if there are any questions or anything like that, I will try to answer them.
SENATOR CIESLA: Go ahead, Norb.
DR. PSUTY: When you talk about easements, are you talking about access to the beach or along the beach?
MR. MOORE: Along the beach. There's plenty of access to the beach. It's not a situation like we had up in Monmouth Beach where the seawall blocks access. Here almost every street end has adequate amount of parking. There is plenty of access to the beach. The beaches are wide open. The north-south access across the beach area is where we are concerned about.
DR. PSUTY: So the actual street ends are not adequate to get access to the sand. You have to have access over every location, no?
MR. MOORE: Yes. In other words, there is parking at each street end, there is parking along the streets, and that certainly provides the necessary amount of access for the folks to get onto the beach. What we are looking for is the public to be able to walk in a north-south direction along the beach.
We need to put the public access and the easements, so that when the contractor comes on board, he has free reign to move his equipment through the area. The Corps -- in the periodic data collection that has to be taken -- we can do that for the periodic renourishment of the beach in the out years. We need that. And we have to have that up front, so that when the project gets started, somewhere down the road a private home or an individual doesn't say, "Well, my predecessor had given you the access before, but I don't," and puts up a fence or something. So we are looking for the public to have complete access along the beachfront.
SENATOR CIESLA: Bernie, has the contract been advertised?
MR. MOORE: No, it has not. The Army Corps is waiting on the Department to notify them by letter that we have all of the necessary easements and right-of-ways in hand, and then they will begin to advertise.
SENATOR CIESLA: Perhaps, maybe, the Army Corps should answer -- Bill, maybe -- but is it necessary to do that, or is it possible to advertise if we assume, as the folks from Manasquan have clearly communicated to me, that they are not going to be able to sustain another winter, particularly if it's a bad winter? Maybe, perhaps, we should err on the side of being conservative. Is it possible to advertise under the regs of the Army Corps in anticipation of the likely acquisition and then have a provision that says, if, in fact, we don't get them, then there can be some extension so that we have the contracts in place so that we can just give them a notice to proceed?
MR. MOORE: I'll let Bill and Ted address that. But generally, if we know that the town is going to acquire the properties via condemnation and we know that is moving forward, we will notify the Corps that within two weeks, ten days we should have that acquisition. Then they can begin to move.
But if we know that it's going to be contested and there may be some other legal problems involved, then we may not do that, okay. So it's a call on my part, depending on what's going on in negotiations and where we are before I will give them the word. And yes, we try to squeak out as much time as we can so that the Corps can legally do what they have to do.
SENATOR CIESLA: Thank you.
Any questions? Steve? Jack? Norb? Reed? Nothing. Bernie, thank you very much. We appreciate you taking the time to come here today on a very hot day.
MR. MOORE: No problem.
SENATOR CIESLA: Next on the list, Bill Slezak, New York Army Corps.
W I L L I A M S L E Z A K: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a couple of handouts that summarize the project. I'll distribute some to the audience.
SENATOR CIESLA: Bill, the floor is yours, thank you.
MR. SLEZAK: Okay, thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to be here again to speak before the shore erosion commission. (sic)
I just wanted to give you an update on the status of our Sandy Hook to Barnegat project. Since I spoke last year, we have made significant progress on the project. We have completed the Monmouth Beach contract, the first contract that was awarded back in January of 1994. That project was completed last November and withstood the winter storms quite well. We are very pleased with the beach there.
There is one area that is a little bit troublesome, from an erosion standpoint, that we are looking at. We are working with our waterways experiment station to try to identify the cause and, also, to see if there is any specific remedial measure needed to be taken there. But overall, that particular area is functioning quite well.
The second contract that we awarded in the Sea Bright area we got partially complete last winter. The contractor stopped work in late October and recently started up about a week ago. The indications are that the contractor is going to be having as much as four dredges working at one time. So the current plan is to advance the completion schedule, which is currently in November. The contractor has indicated that he is looking to try to finish up by August or September. So, hopefully, we will have that done before the end of the summer. Bernie -- probably who -- has talked about some of the upcoming contracts that we have, and we are scheduled to award the contract -- what we call Contract 2 -- in the Long Branch area. We were planning actually to start work next month in May/June time frame. Bernie has been working very closely with some of the owners to try to get the real estate interest. Once we have the real estate set to go, we are ready to advertise. So I was talking to Bernie this morning, looking just for a firm commitment that the real estate is coming, and we will then start our advertising process. Right now, we are projecting that we might be able to start by August.
Finally, the last contract in the Sea Bright/Ocean Township section -- what we call Contract 3, that covers the community of Deal -- that had been scheduled to be awarded next year. As it stands right now, because of budget restrictions -- as you all know, the Federal budget is very tight -- there is not funding in the Federal Fiscal Year 98 budget to allow us to start Contract 3. However, Congressman Pallone, as many of you know, has been working very closely with the Appropriations Committee, and he is optimistic that funds will be added to allow Contract 3 to proceed on schedule.
So we are proceeding with our design work, our plans, and specifications. Should funding be provided, we would be prepared to proceed in accordance with the schedule that I have outlined here.
Moving on to the Section II area, where we are right now, the Asbury Park to Manasquan, the first contract that we are planning to award is this area right here (refers to chart) the South Reach which includes Belmar, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and Manasquan. Similar to Long Branch, we are set to go as far as the design-- Once we get the real estate and we sign an agreement with the State, we will be prepared to award a contract there. Right now, my projection is a September award. The second contract, which I see is misstated here as South Reach, is the section north of Shark River Inlet extending from Asbury to Shark River Inlet similar to Contract 3 in Deal. This is not currently funded in the president's Fiscal Year 98 budget. Again, Congressman Pallone is working with the Appropriations Committee, and should there be funding provided, we would be prepared to award that contract next year as well.
So that summarizes the Sandy Hook project that's underway. We do have a couple of others. As many of you know, we have some reconnaissance studies, feasibility studies on the Raritan and Sandy Hook Bays. I have some information on those projects if anyone is interested.
Are the questions directed to the Chair?
SENATOR CIESLA: Bill, one question I have is, if this section is likely to be awarded in September, is it likely that it would go to construction this year, given that the contractor stopped up there in October?
MR. SLEZAK: Right. Given the severity of the situation in Manasquan, we would very much like to, at least, get that part done before the contractor will be immobilized. A lot is going to depend on how soon we can get it awarded. If we are talking early September, yes, I think there is a good chance that we'll get some significant sand placement. If it's late September extending into October, you know, then it gets a little touch and go. So we are really going to have to play that one by ear. But our intent right now is to try to at least get the Manasquan Borough piece done because of the significant damage that was suffered there last winter.
SENATOR CIESLA: Which then brings me to the question that I asked Bernie. You had mentioned that you'll go forward with an actual bid document, provided that you have a firm commitment. Is a firm commitment an agreement among the parties at least in principle that they're agreeable to it, is that what that is?
MR. SLEZAK: Well, the agreement that Bernie talks about with the local communities is a little bit different than the agreement that we have. We deal only with the State. Bernie, in turn, has the agreements that he has with the individual communities.
Before we can begin construction, we have to sign what's called a Project Cooperation Agreement with the State, that basically outlines the responsibilities of the Feds and the State and outlines the cost sharing and, also, the committment on the part of the State to provide all the necessary real estate. So that document would have to be signed before we could even bid the project.
SENATOR CIESLA: Okay, I understand.
MR. KEMPF: Just a point of correction on your handouts, Section II is Asbury to Manasquan. It should be Asbury to Shark River Inlet in all cases where it says Section II?
MR. SLEZAK: No, actually Section II is Asbury to Manasquan. Contract 1 is north of Shark River Inlet, and Contract 2 is south of Shark River Inlet. Okay, so Shark River Inlet is the dividing point between the two contract areas, but Section II is Asbury to Manasquan.
MR. KEMPF: Okay, thank you.
SENATOR CIESLA: Norb?
DR. PSUTY: I have a couple of questions. You commented about the erosional hot spots. As you begin to look at that, is that covered under the general maintenance program -- the 50-year maintenance program -- and the funds were available for that?
MR. SLEZAK: Well, it's certainly included -- in terms of the 50-year life of the project -- in terms of the periodic nourishment. Just to backtrack a little bit, the project that we are involved in here, it includes both the initial construction, which is constructing -- and it should show on the map-- We basically provide a protective beach -- a 100-foot-wide beach, 10-feet-high, medium-low water -- over the 21-mile stretch of shoreline. It also provides for periodic nourishment, which means going in there approximately every six years and renourishing the beach. We are not looking to renourish the entire beach.
The idea is that we construct the beach. We expect the protective berm to last for approximately six years. When we construct the beach, we overfill. We go about another 50 to 100 feet beyond the protective berm. That's the part that we expect to erode. That's the part we expect to nourish on the six-year basis. So the periodic nourishment should not be as costly as the initial construction, since we will not be putting as much sand on the beach. So in terms of the hot spot, that hot spot area is certainly within the project area. I mean that it's an area that we hope to be able to nourish during the life of the project.
The downside right now is that we don't know what the future holds in terms of the Federal dollar, the Federal committment for these long-term nourishment projects. Where we stand right now, from a policy standpoint, is that the initial construction-- We expect that even though we have some problems with funding next year, there is no policy concerns. We do expect that over the next few years we will be given sufficient dollars to complete the initial construction.
As far as the periodic nourishment, that's an unknown right now. We don't know whether or not we will be able to continue to participate in the 50-year life of the project. That will be decided down the road. But in terms of that particular hot spot, we are looking at that. If need be, we may look to renourish that area in conjunction with one of the other contracts. So we are going to be looking very closely at that area to see whether any type of remedial actions need to be taken.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: Just a follow-up on that same question, in a generic way, not necessarily that hot spot. It sounds like to me that the six-year periodic renourishment, you will take a survey, and you will decide how much sand should be applied at whatever. Does that, when you make that decision, require a budget submission and approval of a budget each and every time for each and every one of these?
MR. SLEZAK: Yes.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: So that it will compete in priority to the same way as those new projects? When you decided to undertake a project, you designed it, you entered into a certain agreement, is that agreement between the State of New Jersey and the Federal government that says that you will, in fact, maintain it, so that if, in fact, the Federal government decides not to appropriate in any future year when you have recommended renourishment, it will be violating that agreement?
MR. SLEZAK: Yes and no.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: Well, explain that to me.
MR. SLEZAK: Okay. As you know, these agreements are written by lawyers so there are always ways out. Essentially the agreement recognizes the fact that neither party, neither the State nor the Federal government, can bound future Legislatures. So it does have that caveat that nothing in the agreement commits future legislators to appropriate the money. It's expected that the moneys will be appropriated. However, it does not -- there's no firm commitment that moneys will, in fact, be appropriated.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: By that agreement, although it has to depend on future--
MR. SLEZAK: Right.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: It has just a bit higher priority than perhaps a future project?
MR. SLEZAK: Absolutely.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: Okay, thank you.
MR. SLEZAK: Absolutely, yes. And in fact, just to expand on that, if we didn't have this "new policy", this would probably be at a higher priority level say than a new project. In other words, from a budgeting standpoint, we'd be looking at this periodic nourishment as, what we call, continuing construction, as opposed to new construction, okay, and generally, in terms of allocating the Federal dollar, the funds go to continuing projects first before new projects. So this would definitely have a greater priority than a new project.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SENATOR CIESLA: Thank you very much.
Any other questions? (no response)
William, thank you for coming down and giving us, generally speaking, good news. As long as we can find a way to fund the balance of the projects and the ones which Mr. Ted Keon from Philadelphia is going to come and talk to us about, we'll have succeeded.
Ted Keon, Philadelphia Army Corps, a man without funding? (laughter)
T H E O D O R E L. K E O N: Thank you. I'm in the role of the outside neighbor here, since we are in the New York District territory. To reiterate our district boundaries, the Philadelphia District has responsibility of New Jersey's coast from Manasquan Inlet south. Our district has a number of efforts currently underway in that reach, or portion, of New Jersey.
I'll use Bernie's maps conveniently. Bernie referred to the red areas as areas currently under study. Here is Manasquan Inlet. All of this red zone represents those efforts that are currently in our planning process. (indicating) To review very quickly, we have two phases, the reconnaissance phase and the feasibility phase.
The reconnaissance phase is generally -- or is a 12-month funded study, 100 percent Federally funded. The areas that we currently have under the reconnaissance arena right now are the Manasquan to Barnegat Reach -- that was completed in the reconnaissance realm in March -- and we have the Great Egg Harbor Inlet through Townsends Inlet Reach, another reconnaissance phase study that was just completed in April. Those two are now completed our report process, and they are currently under review.
The feasibility phase efforts that we have are fairly extensive. We have four currently ongoing feasibility phase studies. One, encompassing the Brigantine Inlet through Great Egg Harbor Inlet -- that's two islands, Brigantine Island and Absecon Island. The Absecon Island portion of that larger study -- we had a draft feasibility report that's been submitted to our headquarters. It's been through a review process, and we are now in the public coordination phase.
In addition, we have the Avalon, Stone Harbor, and Northern Wildwood zone under a feasibility phase study. A report will be coming out this summer in July, rather unique from the perspective of the purpose-- The lower Cape May Meadows, Cape May Point is somewhat of a traditional problem, severe erosion. However, the benefits that we are justifying, or attempting to justify, the project are based on the environmental significance of that area. It is a very, very important habitat zone.
Those are three studies that are in the ongoing status, and I will get to the policy implications in a moment. And as far as we know, we have no budgetary problems with the continuance of those. The fourth feasibility phase study on the ocean coast is along Long Beach Island. That was a study that was completed from the reconnaissance of last year when the President's policy -- again I'll review that in a moment -- was released. We were only able to initiate the feasibility phase of that through funds that were added into this current year's budget. And as far as we have been led to believe, we are only guaranteed this current year's worth of funding. So next year, we are on an uncertain status as to whether or not funds will be added to the 97 budget. So we are in a one-year by one-year status for that feasibility phase.
In addition, similar to New York, we have an ongoing study effort along the Delaware Bay as well. We have a number of specific study areas under study in the Delaware Bay region in the feasibility phase portion.
We also have two construction projects that have been completed. They are well in their nourishment phase. The Cape May project has been completed. It has had two nourishment cycles, and, in fact, the third renourishment will be awarded, we expect, in the latter part of the summer or latter part of the fiscal year, and, hopefully, construction will be initiated in early part of next fiscal year, so in the fall time frame.
The Ocean City, New Jersey project we completed last summer -- the first scheduled nourishment cycle -- and we would anticipate a three-year cycle to continue for that area, so that we would have in the Fiscal Year 1998 time frame a renourishment effort for the Ocean City project.
It was alluded to earlier about the funding impacts. It is also our understanding and beliefs that these nourishment efforts are being funded, so we are anticipating that the completed construction projects will, in fact, continue with the construction funds or budgeted for construction.
Now to review the policy: I think members of the panel are probably aware -- I'm not sure the audience is quite versed or as well versed -- the policy that we have been referring to is the current administration who has in its cost-cutting measures for the Federal government has decreed that the Corps of Engineers will no longer be in the beach building business. So the study efforts that I have been referring to are part of the -- will be the first ones to have the implications of this policy come down. We are allowed to continue our efforts as long as they are within a current phase. A study that's into its reconnaissance phase continues to the end, and then it will cease. Any feasibility phase efforts can continue, and at the end of that phase, they will cease.
So Federal involvement beyond those study efforts will be terminated. So in reference to all the studies that we have ongoing, theoretically under this current policy, we will never be able to get to the construction phase. So it is simply a planning, study, analysis effort, and we, the Federal government, will be precluded from ever getting to the actual building of the beach plans that we are ideally recommending for these zones.
The two reconnaissance phase studies that I mentioned earlier, they are both at this crossroads. We have completed the report. The report is under review. As currently dictated to us, we will no longer be able to budget for the next phase of study, the feasibility phase. So that's kind of the dire aspects of where we are in the Philadelphia District with all our planning efforts.
SENATOR CIESLA: Ted, how much money is invested that really is not going to be applied toward construction, if we are not successful in changing the policy?
MR. KEON: How much money as far as--
SENATOR CIESLA: My recollection was that, for example, the reconnaissance phase from Manasquan south was a half a million dollars. We're talking, collectively, about a half a dozen or so projects, whether they be in recon or design, that seem to be going forward but aren't going to be used for any purpose.
MR. KEON: I have a table. In fact, I grabbed copies to hand out prior to my talk. I will now hand them out, post my talk. There are more on the back table, as well as a newsletter that we've recently, in fact just yesterday, got back from the printers.
The two reconnaissance phase studies were each $500,000 study efforts. It should also be noted actually that these studies, both of them, were accelerated by congressional action to actually add these studies into last year's budget to initiate these efforts, prior to the announcement of the new policy. So both of these efforts were funded through congressional action accelerating what we would normally have budgeted for, and then the policy was introduced.
So those are two half-million-dollar efforts. As far as the feasibility phase efforts, it's a number of millions of dollars. The studies that we have been developing for the large reaches, the developed areas to the south, had been on the order of one-and-a-half million as the low end for the environmental restoration study through -- into the typical $2-plus million range for a large barrier island with heavy development. So it is a sizeable investment, and in fact, it should be noted, quite frankly, that the feasibility phase is cost-shared with a non-Federal sponsor, in this case, and in all cases along the ocean coast, the Department of Environmental Protection. They are half-funding partners in these efforts.
SENATOR CIESLA: Any questions from the panel?
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Take for example, the feasibility phase-- Townsends Inlet to Cape May Inlet -- $2.1 million, does that figure represent the joint Federal and State, not just the Federal?
MR. KEON: Yes, it does.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: Do you do these studies in-house for the most part?
MR. KEON: For the part; however, we do use contractors for various subpieces of the work.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: We, of course, are interested in passing a resolution today urging the Federal government to continue, because we think it's very vital and very important Federal policy, as well as State. But in the event that the Federal government chooses, for whatever reason, not to provide funds, is there any benefit to the State of New Jersey to continue with the feasibility phases of these projects should the policy of the Federal government change in some time in the future? Is that of any benefit to us?
MR. KEON: If the policy is changed toward allowing us to be involved--
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: Yes.
MR. KEON: Absolutely. If we were to halt these efforts, we would be left with an unanswered study resolution. We would not have the decision documents, as we call them, prepared and available for use for congressional authorization of the projects. So without that, we would almost be back at square one, although there would be a sizeable amount of data already collected. But without the feasibility document prepared, we would be sort of at the mercy of future budgets to initiate the study efforts again, long-range planning for the budget cycles, etc., to redo much of the work that has already been done.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: With that answer, if the State of New Jersey decided to fund these feasibility studies entirely with State funds, in this interim period, would that be in some kind of a system where your office would continue with the studies and bill the State of New Jersey, or would the State of New Jersey then go out and get their own contractor to do it under your approval? How might that work?
MR. KEON: Help.
MR. MOORE: My thought would be to contract, if the State of New Jersey had to do it, would be to contract with the Army Corps of Engineers to go ahead and do it. First of all, the Army Corps has all of the necessary data there. They have experience, they have the necessary managers of contracts there; it would just be the right thing to do. For the State to take it over, we would have to initiate new contracts. That would take some time. We would probably have to bring on managers for all of these contracts because there's numerous amount of contracts here and folks to do all the writing, and we don't have that capability. So we would prefer to go right to the Corps of Engineers, both New York and Philadelphia Districts, and have them complete it. And that is an item that can be done under normal circumstances. It's called "work for others," and we would fund them. We have done this before. In fact, this is how we got Ocean City started and jumped the gun on that one and also on Barnegat Inlet.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: I hope that we will be able to convince them that they should fund it, but I don't think we could afford the interruption in time that would take place.
MR. MOORE: Well, in the testimony that we had in February, it was absolutely tremendous when you start to see all of our congressional delegation at the budget hearings all in support of the Army Corps policies. They did not want to retreat. They did not want to retreat last year, and we were very successful in getting the necessary funds added. I hope that we are going to be that successful this year also.
SENATOR CIESLA: Bernie or Ted, does this information go stale? In other words, is there a shelf life to the reconnaissance and/or feasibility work that's underway? In other words, if there is a lapse, does it have to be done over again or can it be picked up after a period of time?
MR. KEON: There is a shelf life. In our economic analyses, we utilize certain price levels. The whole economic root of the analysis has certain assumptions built into it that, with projections, and so forth, if we get to a certain point, we are required to go back and revisit those analyses and see if, in fact, they are still valid, things have changed, etc. So there is an economic shelf life of the analyses.
MR. MOORE: The other point, I think, is the data that they are collecting, especially for locations of offshore burrow areas, where there is plenty of sand. Whatever happens, we need that data, because if there is a major storm, we have to be able to go some place to get the material. We know the material is good, most of the environmental work had been done on it, so that's very important to us. It's critical, because not everywhere do you find sand. Even though you think there's sand from here all the way over to Europe, there's not, okay. It's located in various spots. So that's what we have to look for. And that's what one of the important parts of the Corps projects are. It takes so long to get and to find those locations and then do the environmental workup on it, so we know we are not harming the environment by the excavations that we are going to carry out.
SENATOR CIESLA: Very good.
DR. PSUTY: Yes, I had a question, Ted, concerning the maintenance aspect of the fill that was done at Atlantic City in 1986. Was there not a continuation agreement at that time for the maintenance of the beach?
MR. KEON: That was a State project.
MR. MOORE: That was totally a State project, no, no. Because that's one of the fallacies that we have when we work with those projects. At that time, we just had an annual appropriation. There was no guarantee that we were going to get any funds later on. In fact, we didn't. So that was a onetime shot, and that's the way we had traditionally done business.
The agreements -- now that we have stable funding, now we can enter into agreements to do periodic renourishment because we know that the funds are going to be coming to us and we can plan accordingly. But in days gone by, that was not possible.
SENATOR CIESLA: Any other questions?
ASSEMBLYMAN GUSCIORA: Yes.
SENATOR CIESLA: Reed.
ASSEMBLYMAN GUSCIORA: What is the total cost of the projects that are proposed to be eliminated?
MR. KEON: Total cost of construction dollars or study dollars?
ASSEMBLYMAN GUSCIORA: Both, I guess, if you can break it down?
MR. KEON: Construction dollars is many tens of millions. If you take a typical-- The Ocean City project, for instance, approximately four miles long, was on the order of $29 million. So if you want to use that as a proxy, it's not necessarily that accurate. But it's tens of millions for some of the large barrier islands that have significant problems. There are, also, areas that have fairly significant existing conditions such that a construction template would not require a whole lot of material -- so that there are gross changes up and down the coast.
The projects that, I think, the feasibility phase analyses have identified along Absecon Island, which is a long barrier island, and the Avalon/Stone Harbor -- preliminary estimates are on the order of $50 million, initial construction costs. Again, these are much longer than the 4-mile-long Ocean City.
As far as the study efforts, it's on the table. The studies are on the order of $2-plus million. Both of the reconnaissance phase studies that have been completed that are no longer able currently to go into the feasibility phase are recommending studies on the order of 2.1, I believe, and 2.5 for the other. And currently, we would not be able to budget for those.
ASSEMBLYMAN GUSCIORA: What is the slated reason for eliminating the program's funding?
MR. KEON: That's an involved answer. The ultimate root reason is budget cutting, Federal deficit reduction. Everyone within the government, every agency is looking for means to become cost effective and reduce costs and funding. The shore protection policy was reviewed within the Office of Management and Budget. The whole Corps was being reevaluated -- its missions -- into trying to focus our agency into addressing what was termed as nationally significant projects. And there was a very large proposal or policy introduced last year that had implications to our flood control missions, our shore protection missions, and our navigation missions, each with this national perspective implication.
In flood control, initially it was any flood control project that had multistate boundaries was okay. If the flood control was within a state, that's not okay. Likewise, shore protection -- the shore protection, the beaches, the projects that are being proposed by our districts, New York and across the nation, typically reside within a single state and are perceived by the people developing this policy that those have local region impacts, not nationally significant. So it is a shore protection policy under the same national significance. Navigation, this is also current, it has not changed. The small draft navigation harbors are currently slated to be terminated from the Corps also. That would include all of our inlet navigation projects and the intercoastal waterway. Those would be abandoned by the Federal government, turned over to the State for maintenance dredging in the future. So it is a long, convoluted answer, perhaps, but it is an attempt to reduce the Federal deficit.
SENATOR CIESLA: Ted, thank you very much.
MR. KEON: Thank you.
SENATOR CIESLA: The last witness who has signed up to testify is Ken Smith of the Coastal Advocate.
K E N N E T H J. S M I T H: Hi, everybody.
SENATOR CIESLA: It's a client town, I believe.
MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, for inviting me to speak to you today. I'm going to focus on the Clinton administration's proposal to eliminate future Federal funding for new studies or new construction starts on shore protection projects under the Corps.
The policy is a little over a year old. In that time, it has generated a national coastal campaign of opposition that we waged and our colleagues have waged in other states with other organizations. We have had some success in Congress. In New Jersey, basically -- getting in the two studies that were deleted last year -- having them added to the bill.
But we have been unable to achieve any movement on this issue from the administration at all, particularly from the Office of Management and Budget. The proposal is based, as you heard, on an argument that shore protection projects don't generate significant national benefits. And the way that the Corps was able to do this was that since the benefit cost justifications for Federal shore protection projects are prioritized on local storm damage property reduction, OMB has been able to conveniently overlook the tourism revenues, jobs, payrolls, and the significant Federal taxes generated by coastal tourism.
If you take one project alone, the Miami Beach project, that project generates between two and three times as much in Federal taxes each year than the United States pays for its entire shore protection program, which is about $83 million this year of Federal expenditure. So the industry is absolutely dependant on healthy beaches -- to the attraction, the protection -- both for the amenities to facilitate coastal recreation, and we are simply overlooked as a generator of economic benefits. We don't have a high visibility on the hill. Shore protection is often classed, up there, as an environmental issue and not an economic one.
Just to expand what Ted had said and put it into a certain context for you, let me use this chart again. These projects that are x'd out are the studies -- Manasquan to Barnegat, Barnegat to Little Egg, southern Ocean City to Townsends, and then Townsends down to Cape May -- that are going to be, basically, dead in the water. That's over half of our coast.
And what they did this year-- Usually the budget process works this way: the President comes out with his message. In New Jersey and other states, we see what's in and what's out for as far as civil works requests. In New Jersey, through the Department of Commerce, we have the Maritime Advisory Council. I belong to it through New Jersey Shore and Beach Preservation Association, and there are a number of port interests and flood control interests. Bernie goes down with Joe Grossi, their Executive Director, every year to request the budget. We've gotten every dime that we have ever wanted because our requests are not inordinate.
This year it was backwards. We had to go down with a guesstimate, pretty good estimate of what we needed, because the President's budget message didn't come out until mid-March. But when it did come out, all we found out was that we were right, and that the new policy is being pursued right down the line, no new starts, no new studies.
So we asked for $28,685,000 for shore protection and beach erosion. Our shortfall, and I'm guessing on one project, but it's a little over a million dollars. But it is really about $5 million, because what they did was to add about $3 million into the construction for Sea Bright, which is good. It is an ongoing project, an important project, and if they need it, so be it. But that $3 million was taken out of six studies, and by doing that, they really just closed off those areas of coast to any further Federal involvement.
In addition, the administration is proposing to eliminate, in FY 98, Federal funding for operations and maintenance, which is dredging, of over 500 small-craft harbors and small inlets nationwide, including every inlet on New Jersey's Atlantic coast.
Now this policy may be modified for harbors which support commercial fishing fleets. That's according to the new Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, but we haven't seen how that would play out yet.
The O&M funding for 97 includes $2.3 million for Manasquan Inlet; $420,000 for Shark River; $1,275,000 to dredge Barnegat Inlet; $500,000 for Cape May Inlet; and a little over $2 million for intercoastal waterway. There is a good chance that this funding will be withdrawn after FY 98, and we'll have to fight for that funding every year.
There is also a need this year to get two projects authorized in the 1996 Water Resources Development Act, what they call WRDAs. They are generally passed every two years. They provide the necessary congressional authorizations so that the projects can be funded when they get ready for construction. Without authorization, we can't get Federal funding either to build the projects or we can't even build them ourselves, assuming we had the money to do that, and get reimbursement. There is a provision for that, but it has to be a congressionally authorized project. These areas are Absecon Island and the Townsends Inlet to Cape May Inlet projects.
We are just at the end of feasibility on both of them. We had to be a little creative and go in and try to get them amended into this year's WRDA based on the draft, subject to the Chief of Engineer's final report on what the numbers are.
Now we are in competition with projects from all over the country that are complete and are ready to go, but the Philadelphia District has done yeomen's service in putting this together for us. I've worked with Frank LoBiondo's staff on this and also with Bob Franks' staff. Bob is on that committee, and hopefully, he will be the horse that carries that legislation in for us.
Because if we can't do it-- Here's the problem. The WRDAs are passed every two years, but the last one was four years ago. We can have all the engineering done, we can have maybe even all the political problems solved, but we can't go to construction say in FY 98, if we were all ready, without a congressional authorization. And we could be waiting, who knows how long, until another one comes up, because there is a lot of chaos down in Washington.
Well, I testified before the Boehlert Committee in Washington, the subcommittee of the Public -- it used to be Public Works Committee -- on this issue, and I also testified before the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee in support of what the congressional delegation from New Jersey was also supporting. The word is it's going to be marked up, I believe, by mid-June. So there is continuing work that has to be done on that.
There are some glimmers of hope. Congress is not in favor of the President's policy. Legislation will shortly be introduced -- in fact, it may be introduced Thursday -- to amend the WRDA to require the Corps to fund beach restoration and shore protection projects that produce economic benefits. And they are more broadly defined than they are now. We are not looking at just local storm-reduction damages.
I would respectfully request your endorsement and your support, your consideration of it. And I'll certainly get a copy of that to you.
Another thing is that coastal coalitions in the Senate and the House have worked with my colleagues and I to draft that legislation. We have worked very hard with them to educate them on the economics of shore protection, and they have been very diligent, especially the Senate coalition, in putting this together.
There is a report issued by a committee of the National Research Council in December 1995 called "Beach Nourishment and Protection." I think, as the years go by, this is going to become one of the bibles of shore protection because it really looked at the issues in a balanced manner. We even put Orin Pilkey on the panel so that the detractors were ably represented. But it is an excellent report.
And there are also two reports that were commissioned by OMB and undertaken by the Corps of Engineers which found that Federal shore protection projects over the last 40 years basically performed well within a close percentage of their original cost estimates and their durability projections on average.
The second phase of that study they were to address-- It's kind of-- How do I say it in good terms? Well, it's not a good question. The question is: Do these projects induce development? And you can go around and around for years on that; I mean we're here, you know. But anyway, that was their charge by OMB, and they concluded that there is no evidence that shoreline projects induced development along protected shorelines. Even if they did, I don't know how you assess that. They used a formal econometric analysis to look at that but--
Anyway, when the conclusions came out last June, OMB saw that they were at variance with their policy, so they sat on it and only recently released it to the public. There is a revision to the policy from Martin Lancaster, the new Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. It's a strange one.
What they are saying now is that they will consider funding shore protection projects where there is no sand replenishment involved and no public recreational benefits, but they would consider constructing structures to support or to protect private and public development. Now, they've gotten a storm over the Internet on this, you know, from a lot of people who were detractors of beach nourishment and now are coming to realize that it's not just a case of Mother Nature taking its course. People aren't going to move off the oceanfront just because somebody thinks it's a good idea. They're going to litigate and it's going to be a total mess. So just by not maintaining beaches doesn't mean that you are going to have wider beaches all of a sudden.
I spoke with Dr. John Zirschky, who is the Acting Assistant, ASA, of the Army, up at a conference in Long Island, and he said that this policy is OMB driven. He doesn't really know how much Bill and Al have their thumb on this, probably not very much, but there are people in OMB, and he said it, who think that protecting all these rich folks at the shore is just the worst use of Federal dollars. And they don't want to hear anything about the economic benefits that are generated.
Well, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, we've just finished our policy paper on it. We have supplied that to the Committee. The Association is a national group of coastal professionals, and we'll be distributing our recommendations to the Congress.
I guess what I'd like to see -- I'd like to see this Commission convene a working group to meet quarterly or at the Chairman's discretion to really communicate-- I think we need to work on this. I mean, that's my feeling, but I'm looking at it from the perspective of seeing 16 years of general apathy at the coast, even among coastal communities. And some are infinitely better than others, but I think that we really need to get serious about this, or we are going to lose out.
The group's charge would be to communicate with us, who are involved in the trenches on these issues, and we'll do whatever we can to educate you. You know we have an advantage here in New Jersey with this $15 million fund. A lot of people don't realize just how important that is, but that's an expression of support from the State. New York does not have that. New York has a governor who doesn't believe in doing shore protection at all. So they've got some real problems. I mean, if you can't even get a state to agree to it, good luck with the Federal government.
I think the coastal towns should start considering contingency plans for poststorm situations where the environmental questions are solved as to where we get the sand. What we do, the permitting is fast-tracked so that we're ready to go. Long Island just did this. They have an inlet beach closure plan that the New York District put together, very nice.
And I must say this with -- you take it with a certain amount of salt, because one of my hats is with a coastal engineering firm, but whether you hired us or not, I think that partnering with the Corps requires the use of coastal professionals and people that know what they are talking about. There are a number of firms, and I think that the local communities would be well served by hiring those firms in the partnership with the Corps because the Corps -- they're great guys. Partnering means your professionals talk to their professionals. Otherwise, you don't know what questions to ask. And if you don't ask the right questions, you may not get the right answers.
Just a couple of things before I conclude. Frank Pallone gave some remarks at the Jersey Shore Partnership's Conference a few weeks ago, and he was right on. One of the best comments that I've been waiting for, for years -- because, as you know, Frank is a champion of environmental issues -- but he said, "You know, it's totally frustrating and extremely frustrating year after year not to be able to get the environmental groups on the side of shore protection. I mean they ask for our support for clean water issues, for clean beaches, and yet, when it comes to protecting the very people who go out there and clean the beaches and take care of the beaches, they're somewhere else. In fact, they actively work against us on it." And I couldn't agree with him more.
We think that we have a possibility of getting the coastal states organization in support of the new legislation out. So I hope so, because they've never been there before.
At a radio conference with Norb and Dery Bennett a couple of weeks ago up in Philadelphia -- and one of the things that Dery said that was interesting was, "You know, if we got rid of all the people, we'd have a lot more biodiversity down here." My fear is that if we don't start treating this seriously, we're going to get a coastal management plan based on--
Anybody see this editorial in the Asbury Park Press? I've got copies for you. The Green Scissors Campaign that basically cut the beach replenishment program out. Hey, when you go to places away from the coast, people don't research this issue that much, you know. They listen to the Dery Bennetts and the Orin Pilkeys. So I guess what I'm saying is, in the final anaylsis, we're going to get what we work for. And that's really what it's coming down to. It's a real fight in Washington, and I think that we need to work more closely on it. I've talked long enough.
SENATOR CIESLA: Ken, thank you. Thank you very much for your remarks. Thank you for your enthusiasm. Thank you for your almost objectivity. (laughter)
MR. SMITH: I try.
SENATOR CIESLA: We enjoyed it.
Are there any questions for Ken? (no response)
Then, with that, that concludes our testimony that was scheduled. If the Committee would like-- They have a resolution in front of them which has been referenced by several of the speakers. If they don't, I have additional copies of it here -- which essentially urges our support of the continuation of the funding by the Federal government of the various shore protection projects. If the Committee is so disposed, I'd entertain a motion to move that, so that we can circulate it as our evidence of support.
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: I'd be pleased to move it.
MR. KEMPF: Second it.
ASSEMBLYMAN GUSCIORA: I have some comments and offer some suggestions on it.
SENATOR CIESLA: Sure.
ASSEMBLYMAN GUSCIORA: This is the first time I've seen this, and I think it's letting Congress off the hook too easily in that it doesn't take into account the fiscal constraints placed upon the Clinton administration by the majorities in both Houses. And I would respectfully request that we eliminate references to the Clinton administration and make it uniform to be the Federal government.
Secondly, so that it could get bipartisan support, I think that we should commend Congressman Frank Pallone for working with the Appropriations Committee and for his work.
And third, I think we should put our money where our mouth is and request that the State pick up the tab, and I would be willing to sign on that in case the Federal government doesn't come through with the funding.
SENATOR CIESLA: Pick up the tab for what?
ASSEMBLYMAN GUSCIORA: For the projects, and that we would pay for the projects on a contractual basis.
DR. PSUTY: The totality of the projects, including the construction phases?
ASSEMBLYMAN GUSCIORA: Well, I mean--
DR. PSUTY: Is that what you mean?
ASSEMBLYMAN GUSCIORA: I think that we should show a commitment that we would like the projects to go forward. If the Federal government does not pick up the tab, then where do we go from here?
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: Mr. Chairman, with all due respect, I think the resolution is drawn up as appropriate, and I have moved it.
MR. KEMPF: Second it.
SENATOR CIESLA: The resolution as it is constituted is moved and seconded.
Roll call, please.
MR. LeBLANC (Committee Aide): Commissioner Psuty?
DR. PSUTY: Yes.
MR. LeBLANC: Assemblyman Gusciora?
ASSEMBLYMAN GUSCIORA: No.
MR. LeBLANC: Commissioner Kempf?
MR. KEMPF: Yes.
MR. LeBLANC: Commissioner Gibson?
ASSEMBLYMAN GIBSON: Yes.
MR. LeBLANC: Commissioner Ciesla?
SENATOR CIESLA: Yes.
Thank you very much. I'd like to express my appreciation to the Lighthouse Society and to the Councilpeople from Sea Girt for showing their hospitality, all three, very much appreciated. I also wanted to extend to the Sea Girt Council members, thank you very much for the natural air- conditioning. Somewhere during this meeting, it got cool, and it worked out real well.
If there are any questions from the public, we'll certainly entertain them before we conclude.
Yes, sir, state your name for the record, and could you please come forward so the microphone could pick you up. It's a requirement that the Office of Legislative Services places on us.
G E O R G E B U B E: Sit here?
SENATOR CIESLA: Yes, very good.
MR. BUBE: I'm George Bube, 333 Beachfront, Manasquan, New Jersey. You'll have to pardon me a little bit, I got hoarse in here. I just had a cataract surgery the other day, so I'm not in the best condition in the world.
Now, we're talking about the beach enhancement program, and I want to ask this Committee what possibility exists to push up the Manasquan segment right now for very, very good reasons? We are being delayed because of the Sea Girt situation. You are penalizing the Manasquan beachfront. There's 1000 feet of Manasquan beachfront that will not withstand another major storm.
Now, let's go back just a few years. I have a museum of beach erosion at my bungalow. It's probably as all intensive as anything you are going to find in private hands in the State of New Jersey. Here is a Corps of Engineering project that took place in 1966. (referring to photograph album) This is the exact counterpart of what you are doing right at this time. It's a beach enhancement program, and it was aborted. It was aborted because of one condition: The authorities did not look at the weather. They did not look at what March is. This was a project -- and I have about a dozen photographs that you can see of this nature that portrays the beach enhancement program at that time. It was going to take right off this beach out here, and it was aborted because of hard, violent northeasters. Now we have a situation where we are going to have beach enhancement starting -- well, we go back a step. We dredged the Woods Hole thoroughfare last March. That was supposed to start in November 1994. It was to be done in December of 1994. It was to be done in January of 1995. It was to be done in February and March. And it was aborted.
They started pumping the sand on the beach. It turned out that it was a little bit oily. I have photographs in this documented album. It's the finest sand, and where is it? It's over on Gull Island in the inlet.
Now, the State canceled the program, and I'm still asking to this day, why was it cancelled? The sand was good. We had the authority. The DEP said they were going to evaluate it. Our own consultant said he was going to evaluate it. Our local engineering firm said they were going to evaluate it. The program was cancelled. We were going to get 40,000 cubic yards of sand that was going to save our beach for this oncoming winter. We never got that sand.
But we were lucky. We were lucky. We just about got through the winter. One more high tide January 7th, and you would have lost a dozen bungalows on the beachfront.
Now, let's take this program here. We're holding off until August, maybe, September, October. Let me read you just a summary of some of the northeast storm flows that could do the same thing that took place with this situation.
Here we have August 1992 through April 1993: August 27, Hurricane Andrew, 50 miles per hour; strong northeast flow September 23, 40 miles per hour; September 25, Hurricane Danielle, 58 miles per hour. You're not going to pump sand in those conditions, not in September and October. You just can't handle that type of thing.
December 9 to 14, the no-name storm, 89 miles per hour; February 12, 57 miles per hour; March 7 -- the dike protected our walkway, the last 10 yards -- 60 miles an hour. And then we had another little one on March 12 to 14, a blizzard, 75 miles per hour.
Last year we permitted our beaches to deteriorate completely. We were told that a sandbar off the shore was going to stop erosion on our beach. For God's sakes, you want to come down there when there's a 70-mile-an-hour northeaster. Your waves are 15 and 20 feet high. They're coming in every six or seven seconds, and a sandbar is going to stop that? No way, it won't do it.
Now, we had quantities of sand that were available for harvesting last year, and I say harvesting as a technique of moving it from the lower beach berms up to the upper beach on a scientific slope. We didn't touch it all year. We gave away 75,000 to 100,000 cubic yards of sand. I can give you all the statistics on it that were available at set times.
Now what happened? We had last summer, 1995-- We had something like 16 hurricanes. We started in August with Erin. We had Felix. We had Iris. We had Humberto. We had Louise. We had Marilyn. Louise was in September. That was the 12th storm of the season, every one of them creating horrendous storm flows and taking out the walkway -- the little bit of sand that was left in front of the beach.
SENATOR CIESLA: George, let me see if I can answer some of your questions because we get the gist of where you're going.
MR. BUBE: Good.
SENATOR CIESLA: Question is, can it be accelerated?
MR. BUBE: Can it be accelerated, that's what I'm saying because it's been said in this group that the only problem was Sea Girt.
SENATOR CIESLA: You heard testimony before that as soon as a firm commitment, which could come as early as the next several weeks for the acquisition of the easements, then the Army Corps will go ahead. I mean, they hear you. They know the condition that's in Manasquan. In fact, the pumping of the dredge materials from the Woods Hole thoroughfare last year was supposed to be a Band-Aid--
MR. BUBE: That's correct.
SENATOR CIESLA: --and, in fact, was a secondary consideration to the main project. It was a disposal site that might be able to help this emerging condition.
But, I can tell you, as a person that worked with Bernie in order to get it put on the beach, that as soon as they started to pump it on the beach, innumerable residents contacted not only Bernie's office, but my office, because the apparent appearance of the material was such that it was thought to be inadequate. And then upon further analysis, the material that was coming out of the balance of the project was not adequate to provide for actual beach protection purposes. I believe the grain size was too small upon the analysis, and the project was stopped. So there were several variables that stopped that project from placing sand that would be of no apparent benefit.
The other question that you raised is one that we know, the conditions of Manasquan. I spoke before the Manasquan Property Owners Association on Saturday and, again, was reminded of the severity of it to the extent that it can happen. I think these gentlemen have heard it, and they are working towards that goal.
Yes, Mrs. Ballou? Councilwoman Ballou, please come forward.
C O U N C I L W O M A N M A R Y E L L E N B A L L O U: I just wanted to comment briefly on Bernie Moore's description of what the home owners want for public access. Their perception is different. At our meeting, which we had with them, they stated that they already allow people to traverse the property. They don't interfere with the fishermen.
What they're afraid of is people bringing blankets and camping in front of their homes for the day. They are also fearful that people will go into the unguarded waters in front of their home and incur increased liability for them.
My second comment is that the current position of Sea Girt now is that we are caught in the middle. This is a disagreement between the State and the home owners. When we go to condemnation, we feel that our resources are limited. We are not able to hand you a blank check for condemnation, and we look to the State for some relief and assistance. Thank you.
SENATOR CIESLA: Thank you very much, Councilwoman.
Our last, Mr. Furlong.
R O B E R T F U R L O N G: I had a series of observations, but I've narrowed them down quite a bit. I was involved with shore protection since 1981. It's not well known, but the present project was authorized in 1958. It gives you some idea of the time lag in getting things done.
Since 1958, I don't think the Federal government, up to this last several years, has spent $100 million on the Jersey Shore. And in all that time, there was no policy at all, as far as replenishing beaches. Then we pick up the paper, and we see an article in the Asbury Park Press or any other local paper. It says, $2.4 billion project, $2.4 billion project. What stands in your mind? That number. And yet, we just found out today that the State is looking for $28 million dollars for one particular project, not $2 billion.
Here's a story. The feasibility studies -- they start in March 1993. They are supposed to end in November 1998. Apparently, feasibility takes about four to five to seven years according to this chart. So you are not going to be looking for money every year for $2.4 billion. There are increments over a 10-year period. This project is a minimum of 10 years. And then you start dividing 2 billion by 10 and suddenly 200 million. Then you look at all the delays they're talking about and all the feasibility studies-- Believe me the number is not that large.
So as far as going ahead with the feasibility and the planning, I would heartily recommend that you continue your program as is. It's going to take long enough, anyway, without extending it any further by the delays that perhaps this gentleman alluded to.
And the other thing I would like to mention -- I just coined a new word -- we found a new word recently called "ecotourism," which I misinterpreted. And I was going to go to Mr. Kyrillos's meeting and I stopped. I said, "I don't think I got this right."
I coined another word. It's called "environomics." And the meaning of that word is we've got to have environmental people learn to live with the economic reality of what the shore stands for. So if I do nothing else in contribution, I would like you all to remember that word, because that's the secret of the future. Thanks.
SENATOR CIESLA: Thank you very much, Bob. We appreciated it.
Again, thank you everyone for attending.
This concludes our meeting.