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$41.5M for Seven Mile Island Beach Replenishment

The north-end of Avalon suffered erosion in October 2022. The town will get a replenishment project this spring

By Vince Conti

AVALON –- Briefing borough council Dec. 14, Avalon Business Administrator Scott Wahl said the total cost for the 2023 beach fill for both communities on the Seven Mile Island is $41.5 million. That represents an increase over previous beach fills and it reflects the high inflationary cost environment at present.   

The good news is that the maximumcost to Avalon, according to Wahl, will not exceed $1.1 million. These hydraulic beach fill efforts are part of a long-term contract with the U.S. Army Corpsof Engineers, designed to provide a berm and dune structure that will protect lives and property along the coast.  

The federal government picks up the lion’s share of the expenseThe state covers the largest portion of the remaining costs, with monies from the Shore Protection Fund.The details have not yet been made public, but Wahl said he expected the Army Corps torelease information soon.  

The costs associated with the Seven Mile Island project will be complicated by the need for the Army Corps to use the distant Townsends Inlet as a sand borrow area for Stone Harbor, in the southern part of the island. An interpretation of federal statutes by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service bars the use of the more proximate Hereford Inlet sand for replenishment, whenever federal dollars are involved.  

The need to pump sand through a long pipe that runs much of the length of the island will add to costs for Stone HarborFor several months, discussions in Stone Harbor Council meetings have set an expectation that cost to that borough will bemore than $2 million. 

Wahl had good news when he reported that, through the efforts of U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, Avalon will benefit from $8.5 million in extra funding for the beach fill, which will allow the borough to expand the area of fill beyond the usual erosion hot spots 

Email: vconti@cmcherald.com 

 

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