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No Back Passing to Help Stone Harbor Beaches

Stone Harbor's beaches

By Vince Conti

STONE HARBOR – A March Stone Harbor Department of Public Works report noted the loss of sand on borough beaches, from 104th to 111th streets, due to storm activity. A limited transfer of sand from beaches at 120th and 123rd streets followed. 

Public Works Director Grant Russ told Stone Harbor Borough Council April 6 that Stone Harbor does not have access to sufficient sand to support significant back passing projects, like the ones conducted in neighboring Avalon.  

Russ said the borough location where sand accumulates is at the Point, a protected area for nesting birds. Other than the sand at the Point, “there is just not enough sand on our beaches to do back passing,” Russ said. 

Russ also reminded the council that the borough is scheduled for federal hydraulic beach replenishment in 2022, but, once again, may be excluded from that effort, as it was in 2019.  

The problem is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife interpretation of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA), which barred the borough from receiving sand from Hereford Inlet, as part of any federally sponsored beach replenishments. 

Litigation regarding a letter from former U.S. Secretary of Interior David Burnhardt that removed the CBRA obstacle is ongoing. It remains unclear whether the 2022 replenishment will include Stone Harbor if that litigation is not resolved. 

Meanwhile, the borough can’t move large quantities of sand along its beaches, while they remain vulnerable to storm activity. 

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