TOMS RIVER, NJ -Despite massive efforts to rebuild the beaches along the northern barrier island at the Jersey Shore, Mother Nature continues to show local officials who is in charge. This week, entire blocks of beach in the Normandy Beach section of Toms River and Brick Township have vanished, washed back into the ocean by the relentless Atlantic Ocean.
All that is left is the protective dunes system bolstered in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and a sheer cliff that ranges between three and six feet tall in some areas.
This comes after a new moon brought high tides in over the past two days that pounded the beach in those areas.
Now, the beaches in the area of the severe erosion have been closed by the township for safety concerns. Wednesday was the start of the new moon cycle where high tides are typically higher and low tides are typically lower. There was no massive nor’easter to drive crushing waves into the beach this time, just the cycle of the moon and the tides.
It’s ok. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, this is called “scarping” and it’s perfectly normal.
Some experts believe the severe erosion at the Jersey Shore in recent years can be attributed to the way the Army Corps of Engineers changed the topography under the ocean along the northern barrier island during the beach replenishment work four years ago.
Ross Kushner of the New Jersey Coastal Alliance says the problems aren’t going to go away by towns dumping millions of dollars worth of new sand on the beaches either.
“These sand cliffs are due to bad construction by the Army Corps,” Kushner said. “It’s actually a design feature the state and Army Corps is fine with.”
In an interview, Dan Falt, Project Manager with the Army Corps said “This is called ‘scarping’ and it’s what generally is to be expected as the construction profile adjusts to a more natural slope.”
Kushner has documented other sections of the Jersey Shore coastline that have faced severe erosion since the Army Corps project was completed.
Toms River spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trucking in sand to Ortley Beach this spring in order to open the beach safely for the summer. While local officials are unsure of what is causing the erosion in the area where Superstorm Sandy landed at ground zero, there is apparently more than meets the eyes below the waves in the area attributing to the severe areas of repeat erosion.
A video shared on Twitter by News 12 in 2020 shows a fully replenished beach.