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Stone Harbor Will Have New Ways to Measure Sand Movement Thanks to SHPOA

Shown is a file photo of a Stone Harbor beach.
File Photo

Shown is a file photo of a Stone Harbor beach.

By Vince Conti

STONE HARBOR – At its June 20 meeting, Stone Harbor Council heard about the usefulness of a proposed GPS system for measuring sand movement on beaches in the intervening period between official surveys.  

At the same time, they heard that the Stone Harbor Property Owners Association (SHPOA) is offering to cover the initial cost of the equipment as their 2023 Project of the Year. 

Borough coastal consultant Douglas Gaffney, of Mott MacDonald, told the council the many ways in which more frequent measurements of sand movement on the beach can be useful to the computer model built by Gaffney and his team.  

The model uses longitudinal data to measure natural wave action and sand transport. The model, in turn, can help support decisions for activities to increase the retention of sand on the beach for longer periods after a replenishment. 

The proposed GPS system will be run by SHPOA volunteers and will feed information to the borough’s coastal management team. Gaffney was clear that the results from using the borough’s own GPS equipment with trained volunteer operators is not a replacement for the formal surveys done by the Coastal Research Center at Stockton University or the surveys performed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to periodic replenishments. That does not mean, Gaffney insisted, that the data will not be useful. 

“It all fits into the narrative,” Gaffney said.  

Doing additional measurements, perhaps as often as one each quarter, in between professional surveys can provide valuable insight into borough decisions about beach maintenance. 

The cost of equipment and software runs at an estimated $6,500. The initial purchase would be paid for by SHPOA, with the borough picking up the expense of annual license renewals. 

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