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Berkeley Island County Park No Place For Sandy Dredge Spoils

Township Council President wants to meet with Ocean County officials this week

Berkeley Island County Park, Bayville, New Jersey
Berkeley Island County Park, Bayville, New Jersey
By Patricia A. Miller

Township officials are not happy about the Army Corps of Engineers plans to dump dredge spoils from Barnegat Bay at Berkeley Island County Park.

"It's absurd," Township Council President James J. Byrnes said at the Sept. 23 council meeting. "It's crazy."

The spoils are from the Corps' massive project to dredge Barnegat Bay and remove excess sand and debris from Superstorm Sandy. The first phase includes Mantoloking to Normandy Beach. The second phase runs from Lavallette to Seaside Heights.

Fill from the bay that is deemed 90 percent clean will be redeposited on beaches and dunes. Fill that is under 90 percent clean will be stored at Cattus Island County Park in Toms River, Berkeley Island County Park and the Ocean County Landfill in Manchester Township, said Bill McGrath, chairman of the township Waterways Commission.

"Our primary concern is why use Berkeley Island Park in the first place?" said
commission member Fred Bekiarian. "Ship it to the landfill."

Commission members also want to know what the risks are in storing the dredge spoils at the park and whether it will be a permanent arrangement, he said.

Berkeley Island - off Brennan Concourse in the Bayville section of the township - was heavily damaged by Sandy and has been closed since the storm hit last Oct. 29. County officials say the park will not fully reopen until 2015.

That doesn't sit well with Byrnes and commission members.

"We want parts of Berkeley Island Park open in the spring," Byrnes said. "It's a hazard to navigation. The whole park is dark."

"They should be concentrating on restoring it," Bekiarian said. "If they use it as a dredge site, it could be (closed) even longer."

Byrnes and commission members plan to meet with county officials this week to discuss the dredge spoils plan and whether the park could be opened earlier than 2015.

Gemini September 25, 2013 at 01:22 PM
that park is also bordered by fresh water from Cedar Creek, are they considering the runoff that will get into the pinebarrens and move inland?
proud September 25, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Go take a mouthful of the water in Cedar Creek along side Berkeley Island Park and tell me if its tastes like fresh water.
proud September 25, 2013 at 01:45 PM
The article states: "We want parts of Berkeley Island Park open in the spring," Byrnes said. "It's a hazard to navigation. The whole park is dark." The bay in the aftermath of Sandy is a hazard to navigation. The reason it's not re-opening (which I think is wrong BTW) is because the Freeloaders are running out of Peters to pay Paul with. Byrnes may be an unhappy camper for longer than he thinks.
TerriLynn September 29, 2013 at 07:02 PM
The bottom line is why spoil a COUNTY PARK that is useful to all people for crabbing, fishing, picnicking, kids playing on the swings, families having family events, spending time on the beach, walking your dogs, riding your bikes, etc. The park was much more useful to the community and the NEIGHBORHOOD before the storm. We all know that once they start dumping in the park, they will never stop and the park will never be restored. Then the housing market in the area will go further in to the ground than it all ready is since the storm. There are alot of homes on Brennan Concourse that are abandon and in foreclosure, which have depleted the house values since the storm. Now this is just another thing added to the storm issues that we have to worry about. I understand the bay has to be dredged, but why not dump it all in the dump in Manchester instead of our parks. Our county is short of beautiful parks as it is, these two parks are two of very few that we have like them. I didn't buy my house to live by a dump. I bought my house to live down the street from a beautiful park to de-stess from the everyday stresses...... Oh and by the way, these parks area ALL of OURS...we pay taxes to keep them. The only other things that bad for the park, short of keeping it closed so none of us can enjoy it, is DUMPING CRAP in it...
proud September 29, 2013 at 08:22 PM
@Terry Lynn, you say a lot of things that I very much understand. However, you don't understand how a dredging project works. The dredge spoils must be evaluated, moved and dewatered prior to its ultimate resting place. It is a complicated and expensive process, though is not as lengthly as you think. Dredging the bay and restoring the park are of paramount importance and can be done in a timely fashion. The problem is the politicians screwing it up again.

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