Jersey Shore Chapter

Poor Quality Sand in Beach Replenishment Projects

Poor Quality Sand in Beach Replenishment Projects

One of the most visible problems with beach replenishment is either poor quality sand, or the material is not sand at all. For example, there have been several instances of garbage or even dumped munitions and unexploded ordnance being dredged up and placed on beaches. Poor quality sand can be detrimental to wildlife in the case of nesting sea turtles, or it can just be aesthetically unpleasing to beachgoers. In the numerous examples that follow, we are placing the oldest stories (going back to 2005) at the bottom. More recent stories are nearer the top of this page. There are so many that we basically stopped keeping track after 2014.

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of beach replenishment followed Hurricane Sandy in 2013. But the problem was in places like Belmar, NJ it was closer to clay or construction fill than the native sand. Don’t take our word for it, check out this Trip Advisor review – https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46299-d1232157-r208413427-Belmar_Beach_and_Boardwalk-Belmar_New_Jersey.html

In 2012 in Cape May, NJ a beachfill costing $9 Million left the beach covered in rocks. Removal of the rocks cost an additional $160,000. Press of Atlantic City article here.

In 2011 there were balls of clay instead of sand in Texas http://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/balls-of-clay-in-texas 

In 2011 in Florida, this project went awry. It seems the material was too fine, too silty.  And the Army corps had to tell this town to stop.  http://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/another-failed-south-florida-dredging-project

In San Diego in 2010, Mission Bay was to be dredged for navigation and the material was to be used as fill on a local beach. But the project met with an unexpected, unknown element. Namely, the stuff on the bottom of the Bay! Everything from old tires to even older beer cans were being sucked off the bottom of the bay and onto the beach. Slideshow here.

In 2007 in Rhode Island there were severely eroded beaches in South Kingston near Matunuck and Carpenter’s Beach. State officials thought it would be a good idea to take materials dredged from the local harbor where the Block Island-bound ferries dock. Well, tons of trash ended up on the local beaches. Read that article here https://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/no-dredging-near-piers-in-point-judit

In Surf City, NJ an Army Corps beach replenishment project in 2007 put military bombs and bomb fuses on the beach.  A couple of months after the initial bomb fuses were found, the beaches in Surf City were still closed and over 1000 munitions were found. These “shells” are the military kind, not the beach kind – https://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/hazardous-shells-in-the-sand  And one local business owners capitalized on the situation with appropriate merchandise – https://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/new-jersey-beaches-da-bomb

This is one of the early stories about the bombs being found on Surf City, NJ https://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/unearthing-weapons-of-past-destruction However, this is not a surprise because there are articles that show the military dumped artillery ordnance, chemical weapons, and other munitions out to sea. They have no records or idea where they were dumped. According to this article, a person in NJ was injured when a chemical weapon canister was dredged up.

These articles mention stones and shells as part of a beachfill in Delaware, but these same articles appear under our safety section as well.  In 2005 the replenished beaches of Delaware were covered in large stones and shells. Additionally, there was a steep drop off at the water’s edge which can be caused by a grain size that is too large. 2005 story here and page two here.