PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District has awarded a contract to Yannuzzi Group, of Kinnelon, for $1.1 million to conduct periodic nourishment of the Lower Cape Meadows-Cape May Point project.
According to a release, the project is a joint effort of the Army Corps’ Philadelphia District, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Borough of Cape May Point, City of Cape May, Lower Township, The Nature Conservancy, and Cape May Point State Park.
The contract calls for “backpassing,” which means sand will be excavated from areas along the upper beach instead of dredging the sand from offshore borrow areas or inlets. Work will involve excavating approximately 164,000 cubic yards of sand from the upper beach.
The sand will then be placed in two locations: The Cove Beach, in Cape May, (114,000 cubic yards of sand) and Saint Pete’s Beach, in Cape May Point (50,000 cubic yards of sand). The redistribution of sand from the upper to lower beach will return the area to the design elevation and will also serve to benefit beach-nesting birds, such as the Piping Plover and Least Terns. Eleven pairs of Piping Plovers nested in the project area after it was originally built; however, no birds have nested there in the past five years, in part due to the lack of suitable nesting habitat.
The initial construction for the Lower Cape May Meadows-Cape May Point ecosystem restoration project was completed, in 2007, and has been nourished/repaired in subsequent years. Work is designed to reduce damages from coastal storm events and to protect the valuable fish and wildlife habitat that exists on the beach and in the wetlands behind the dune.
The Army Corps will issue a notice to proceed, in early November, with construction expected to follow in the fall/winter timeframe.