Why NJ Beaches Are in Better Shape Than Other States
A new report from Stockton University profiles 30 years of changes to New Jersey's shoreline and beaches. A combination of federal and state money has kept New Jersey's shoreline in good shape.
Stewart Farrell, director and founder of Stockton's Coastal Research Center, says despite storms and erosion, a strong replenishment program has kept the beaches in good shape.
Farrell says Jersey's 97-miles coast, from Cape May Point to Sandy Hook, is in better shape than any other coastal state's beaches.
"New Jersey is far and away, in terms of the percentage of its coast line involved with serious efforts to keep the beaches in place for a longer period of time than any other state in the country."
Since the 1970s, the state has been adding sand to beaches. Federal dollars cover 65 percent of the Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Shore Protection Program, with the state and municipalities covering 35 percent.
Farrell says after the last 28 years, the entire developed shoreline is now under federal management and they have added a billion dollars worth of sand, 100 million cubic yards.
"The big elephant in the room is sea level rise," he adds. "None of these barrier islands or beach front towns are more than 10 or 15 feet above mean high water. And if sea level rises another 5 feet in the next 100 to 150 years, there is basically some serious soul-searching that has to go on, whether or not people continue living where they currently live."