Back Bay Islands Residents Worried About Erosion

Marshes, Sandy Hook, NJ

Photo: Barry Winiker / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Residents of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, are growing increasingly concerned about the erosion of the state's back bay islands. The southern end of Long Beach Island, particularly Clam Cove Bay, has seen significant marshland break off due to erosion. Locals attribute this to major storms and the wakes generated by boaters and jet skiers who come too close to the shore. In an effort to combat the erosion, local restaurants are donating clam shells to be strategically placed to shore up the shoreline.

The erosion problem is not limited to the back bay islands. According to a report by WCAU-TV, most of New Jersey's beaches are in decent shape as the summer season begins, but significant erosion remains a problem in several spots. Even in areas where erosion has not reached crisis levels, the shoreline is somewhat narrower this year. This has led to local officials banning tents, cabanas, and other sheltering devices that take up a lot of space on some beaches.

Jon Miller, a coastal processes expert at Stevens Institute of Technology, said a series of winter nor'easters caused significant erosion in Atlantic City and North Wildwood. He also noted that his graduate student, Audrey Fanning, completed a study showing that moderate 'nuisance' erosion events like those New Jersey experienced over the winter are likely to triple by 2050.

Shawn LaTourette, New Jersey's environmental protection commissioner, said, 'the repetitive nature of these erosional forces cannot be ignored.'

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