NJ beaches were one of the first known casualties of Hurricane Sandy, and, even as she raged outside, footage of the devastation shocked locals as well as those watching globally.
NJ beaches along with coastal areas in New York were very hard hit by Sandy’s resultant floods. Damage to structures on the shore was heavily documented with images of Atlantic City and Asbury Park emerging as hallmarks of the horrors wrought by Sandy upon the region.
But, as Sandy plowed through the Northeast, NJ beaches remained under water after the massive flooding came in, making initial damage assessments difficult to gauge. Now the floodwater has receded, and environmental experts are free to make assessments about how to best preserve beaches to prevent further erosion to coastal regions ahead of future disasters — reigniting a debate about whether allocating funds for such measures is prudent or necessary.
A study conducted on NJ beaches after Sandy reveals that on average, 30 to 40 feet of coastline disappeared in her wake, except, says beach erosion expert Stewart Farrell, director of Stockton College’s Coastal Research Center, those that had recently been shored up with sand to prevent such a happenstance from occurring.
Farrell says that fiscal concerns aside, the measure is effective at preventing beach loss and explains:
“It really, really works … Where there was a federal beach fill in place, there was no major damage — no homes destroyed, no sand piles in the streets. Where there was no beach fill, water broke through the dunes.”