Stories from the Bay
Update By: Dr. Larry Niles, LJ Niles Associates LLC
Both projects, Thompson's Beach and South Fortescue Beach continued under a cold and very wet snow storm this past Friday (March 20, 2015). Just the five mile difference made for snowfall on Fortescue, but rain on Thompson's.
With rubble removed in the first section of Fortescue beach, Boomer Huen started building the beach on South Fortescue. With 7 trucks carrying loads of sand from Ricci Brothers Sand Plan, we were able to place over 1,000 yards of sand.
The geographical orientation of this new beach will be similar to those on the Cape May peninsula including North and South Reeds Beach. Like them, the Fortescue Beach will be vulnerable to persistent westerly winds characteristic of the bay. Consequently, the beach will lose sand, we expect it to move towards Raybins Creek inlet which lies on our beach's southern flank. This will be no loss, as it will improve horseshoe crab breeding habitat in inlet, adding area and protective shoals for crab breeding and foraging birds.
Across the Maurice River, our new beach at Thompson's Beach will have similar value, but its east-west orientation provides natural protection from damaging westerly winds. Steve Green with Wickberg Marine loaded 10 truckloads of rubble this past Friday with the help of Maurice River Township who will recycle the rubble into crushed concrete used in roads like ours.
Come May, the 0.3 mile of new beach at Fortescue will include a berm out of the high tide, providing vital habitat for May shorebirds. The shorebirds in this picture taken in 2013 are usually pushed out of the area by the high tide or are crowded into small places making them vulnerable to predators.
Rabin Creek inlet at low tide. This inlet will be charged with new sand as we lose sand from Fortescue.
Another part of our project, a study by Stockton University's Steve Hafner and Dan Barone will help determine how sand moves in the bay.
Steve Green load Thompson's beach rubble onto Maurice River Township Trucks.
Dr. Larry Niles has led efforts to protect red knots and horseshoe crabs for over 30 years.