Secretary Bernhardt holds meeting with local officials, Congressman Jeff Van Drew in Washington, DC
(Avalon/Stone Harbor/North Wildwood)—United States Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt issued an administrative directive on Monday, November 4th that permits the use of non-emergency federal funds for periodic beach nourishment projects, particularly in Stone Harbor and North Wildwood. The directive follows a meeting hosted by Secretary Bernhardt at the Department of Interior on Monday, October 21st scheduled by Congressman Jeff Van Drew and attended by representatives of Avalon, Stone Harbor, and North Wildwood. This directive reverses a recent position by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service that prevented the sand that has accumulated in the Inlet from prior beach fills to be used for protective measures against future storm events.
“We collectively appreciate the Congressman’s efforts with arranging this meeting and appreciate Secretary Bernhardt’s reversal of Fish and Wildlife’s blatant disregard for the language included in the statute in the Coastal Barriers Resources Act”, said Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi. “Some individuals at Fish and Wildlife ignored language in a federal law and put coastal communities at unnecessary risk despite agreement from federal, state, municipal and environmental interests that they were dead wrong in their position. We simply will not get rolled by individuals with specific agendas and will continue to make best decisions based on science, and not egos”.
The Coastal Barrier Resources Act regulates certain offshore units in the United States where any combination of local, state, or emergency federal dollars may be used to remove sand to restore eroded beachfronts. The Act prohibits the use of non-emergency federal dollars unless certain exceptions are met, including the stabilization of an existing shoreline and/or to protect environmental assets. The municipalities presented voluminous evidence to the Secretary that exceptions are clearly met and were willfully ignored by Fish and Wildlife. The Department of Interior supported the use of these same exemptions in a letter dated December 24, 1996, and three subsequent non-emergency beach fills used sand from Hereford Inlet since that letter. However, Fish and Wildlife reversed its own position two years ago.
“The inexplicable overreach by Fish and Wildlife prevents North Wildwood from being included in the Townsend’s Inlet to Cape May project and has resulted in our coastline being extremely vulnerable to coastal storm events”, said North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello. “Secretary Bernhardt was sympathetic to our issue and went so far as to apologize to our group for having to make the trip to Washington, DC to state our position, which he has affirmed in his directive”.
Stone Harbor was not included in a hydraulic beach fill project this fall despite being included in the Townsend’s Inlet to Cape May project in part because Fish and Wildlife refused to allow some of the five million plus cubic yards of sand clogging Hereford Inlet from prior beach fills to be placed back on the beaches. “Fish and Wildlife not only ignored the federal statute, but also ignored clear evidence that there have been vast environmental improvements at Stone Harbor Point created only from sand from prior beach fill projects”, said Stone Harbor Mayor Judy Davies-Dunhour. “This directive by the Secretary will ensure that critical environmental habitats are protected, and continue to thrive, on beaches in both Stone Harbor and North Wildwood”.
During the last hydraulic beach fill project in 2017, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the boroughs of Stone Harbor and Avalon had to create a unique agreement that pumped sand from Townsend’s Inlet, north of Avalon, south to the Stone Harbor beaches at an additional expense of over $6 million. This action needed to be taken despite millions of cubic yards of sand sitting in Hereford Inlet from prior beach fill projects.
The meeting with Secretary Bernhardt was established by Congressman Van Drew, who met with officials from all three communities on Friday, October 11th. Representatives from Fish and Wildlife were invited to that meeting to discuss a solution, but they did not attend.
Photo: United States Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt hosts a meeting in his office to discuss the CBRA issue. (L to R) Stone Harbor Business Administrator Jill Gougher, Avalon Assistant Business Administrator James Waldron, Avalon Business Administrator Scott Wahl, Secretary Bernhardt, Congressman Jeff Van Drew, North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello, North Wildwood Business Administrator Ron Simone. Photo by Javier Gamboa.
Department of Interior Secretary Approves Avalon/Stone Harbor/North Wildwood Position on Hereford InletJoyceMedia2019-11-04T18:14:03-05:00
The National Weather Service has continued the Coastal Flood Watch and now has posted a High Wind Warning for our Borough in advance of the approaching coastal storm. The Coastal Flood Watch is in effect from Thursday evening, March 1st through Saturday evening, March 3rd. The High Wind Warning is in effect from Friday at 11:00am through Saturday at 6:00am. The Flood Watch includes the potential for minor, moderate, and in some locations major coastal flooding; the Wind Warning includes the potential for wind gusts approaching 60mph at times along the coastline.
A coastal storm is expected to spread rainfall over our region Thursday afternoon and lasting through Saturday morning. The storm is also expected to include the potential for street flooding in flood prone areas at times of high tide courtesy of the storm, and the lunar cycle. This flooding could make travel difficult on streets that are prone to flooding. The high winds may have potential to damage trees and cause power outages. The National Weather Service is expected to provide frequent updates to this forecast, so please continue to follow this site and traditional media outlets. The high tide of most concern occurs on Saturday morning.
High tide at the Townsend’s Inlet Bridge between Avalon and Sea Isle City will occur at the following times, on the following days:
Thursday, March 1st: 7:45pm
Friday, March 2nd: 8:05am, 8:33pm
Saturday, March 3rd: 8:51am, 9:19pm
Never attempt to drive on any flooded street or through any flooded intersection as this puts you and your vehicle at risk, and causes an unnecessary wake that can damage public and private property. If you have a power outage, please contact Atlantic City Electric directly at 1-800-833-7476. The County of Cape May will close the Townsend’s Inlet Bridge Thursday, March 1st at 5:00pm until sometime on Sunday, March 4th as the roadway leading to the bridge will likely experience flooding and wave action from the storm. Never attempt to drive over any downed utility wire. If you have any emergency, dial 911.
The Borough remains in contact with the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service to get the very latest information. The information below on the Coastal Flood Watch and the High Wind Warning is courtesy of the National Weather Service:
…COASTAL FLOOD WATCH NOW IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH
LATE SATURDAY NIGHT…
* LOCATIONS…Coastal areas of Cape May County and Cumberland
* COASTAL FLOODING…Minor flooding is anticipated with the high
tides on Friday morning and Friday evening, moderate to locally
major flooding is expected with the high tide on Saturday
morning, and moderate flooding is forecast with the high tide on
* TIMING…High tide on the oceanfront occurs between 7:15 AM and
8:15 AM on Friday morning, between 7:45 PM and 8:45 PM on Friday
evening, between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM on Saturday morning, and
between 8:30 PM and 9:30 PM on Saturday evening. High tide on
the back bays and on Delaware Bay occurs later than the high
tide on the oceanfront.
* SURGE…Around 1 to 1.5 feet on Friday, building to 2.5 to 3
feet on Saturday.
* WAVES…Around 4 to 7 feet on Friday, building to 9 to 12 feet
* IMPACTS…Numerous roadways are expected to flood and minor to
moderate property damage is possible. The tides and wave action
will likely result in moderate beach erosion.
A Coastal Flood Watch means that conditions are favorable for the
development of moderate or major flooding.
Be prepared to begin taking appropriate action to protect life
and property. Follow the recommendations of local emergency
management officials. Be sure to check the latest forecast from
time to time in case a warning is issued or any new information
…HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM FRIDAY TO 6 AM EST
The National Weather Service in Mount Holly has issued a High
Wind Warning, which is in effect from 11 AM Friday to 6 AM EST
Saturday. The High Wind Watch is no longer in effect.
Stone Harbor defeated Avalon, 11-9 in the championship game of the Mayor’s Cup Bocce Tournament held at Avalon’s 39th Street Bocce Courts on Saturday, May 20th. Avalon and Stone Harbor advanced to the championship game by eliminating both Wildwood Crest and Middle Township earlier in the competition. Stone Harbor takes the Mayor’s Cup for one year before defending its title in 2018; Avalon defeated Stone Harbor in the last tournament to win the inaugural cup.
Mayors from Middle Township (Michael Clark), Wildwood Crest (Carl Groom), Stone Harbor (Judy Davies-Dunhour) and Avalon (Marty Pagliughi) captained their respective teams.
Photos by Avalon Public Information Officer/Business Administrator Scott Wahl.
Stone Harbor Captures Mayor’s Cup Bocce Tournament in AvalonJoyceMedia2019-01-15T11:38:27-05:00