BRADLEY BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - After superstorm Sandy, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is taking a stand in the sand.
“We now know that having aggressive dune systems works,” he said. “What I care about most is that an aggressive protective dune system is built and maintained as a result of this storm.”
The governor saw that firsthand in Bradley Beach, where the dunes protected the promenade and oceanfront homes.
To rebuild them, wooden fences are erected and thousands of old Christmas trees trucked in from Jersey City and Essex County are piled up.
Rich Bianchi, Director of Public Works for Bradley Beach, showed the governor how it works.
“We’re gonna let the sand blow naturally of the top of them and then we’ll put the dune plugs in there and over the years, it will weave itself through the system and will create an awesome barrier for this beachfront,” he said. “They actually were almost 25-feet-wide and 20-feet-high.”
For a sand dune to be effective, it has to be a specific size.
“22 foot crest elevation with the crest, the flat top of the crest, 25-feet-wide and then it slopes down seaward to the beach surface at a five-to-one slope,” Dr. Stewart Farrell of the Stockton College coastal research center, who has been studying dunes in New Jersey for more than 25 years, told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.
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He said the Army Corps of Engineers built such dunes in Harvey Cedars, Brant Beach, and Surf City.
“The protection it provided from Sandy was 100 percent. Anybody who lived behind that federal dune did not suffer wave damage, inundation, or flooding from the ocean side,” he said.
Now that federal aid for recovery from Sandy is on the way, Christie wants dunes from Cape May to Sandy Hook.
“The thing that frustrates me the most right now is not the towns, but some of the homeowners who are still arguing and debating about whether or not they want to give easements to have dunes built,” said Christie. “I think that’s extraordinarily selfish and short-sighted.”
There have been past legal challenges, but the governor said he’ll use all of his power to get the dunes built.
“There shouldn’t be any debate about it anymore and I hope that a group of homeowners don’t put the lives and the property of a whole town at risk because they want a little bit of a better view,” said Christie.
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