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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.

proud September 25, 2013 at 06:29 AM
I suppose Byrne will camp out on the freaking beach if he has to.
Gemini September 25, 2013 at 06:54 AM
If he camps at the beach at Berkeley island to stop this from happening, I know of many people who will do the same. Myself included. That is preserved wetlands around there that is one of the most beautiful and scenic places in the county to view the bay. This is my neighborhood, where i am trying to rebuild my house
proud September 25, 2013 at 07:46 AM
What does rebuilding your house have to do with dewatering dredge soils? BTW, it's not YOUR neighborhood Muffy!
Judys 15 September 25, 2013 at 07:58 AM
Well it's my neighborhood, and I don't understand how restoring a county park can include dumping there. If the park used as a county garbage can, you know it will never be restored to its former glory. If the dredge spoils cannot be dumped along the western edge of Island Beach State Park, why is it ok to dump it on the eastern side of Berkeley Island Park? Aren't they equally preserved areas?
proud September 25, 2013 at 08:30 AM
No Judy, it is not YOUR neighborhood either. You and friend CSKB sound like a couple of snooty Pelicanelitists. Do you know what a geo bag is?
Chief Wahoo September 25, 2013 at 09:35 AM
Dump it on that dump of a park. And if you run out of space , dump it on Byrne's front yard of his beautiful upgraded house. (It sure Seems only public takers can afford the upgrades)
Gemini September 25, 2013 at 09:58 AM
I lost my house to Sandy and have been trying to get permission to rebuild it. I needed to apply for a variance due to the fact it is in a conservation zoning to preseve the wetlands. I bought my house 10 yrs ago and partly due to the fact I love the beauty of the area and that park. Which is in my neighborhood within walking distance. I want to rebuild my house and continue to walk to that park and enjoy it. If that park is ruined with dredging materials and turned into a dumping ground.. whats the use of restoring homes in the area?
barb September 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM
"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." sounds like they aren't going to fight very hard, huh? kind of like with the rt 9 mess, just give up like you did with that too.
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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