Stories from the Bay
Update By: Dr. Larry Niles, LJ Niles Associates LLC
With the help of the New Jersey Division of Land Use Regulation, we were cleared to work on Fortescue Beach last Friday, March 20, 2015. It’s a big project! We will be moving over 40,000 yards of sand, nearly twice as much as was used in 2013 on the five beaches between Reeds Beach to Pierce’s Point. Restoring South Fortescue Beach will be vital to achieving the goals of our project.
The most important goal is to remove the threat posed by a rubble strewn shoreline. The rubble served as a stopgap attempt to protect the road that connects Fortescue with the five house suburb of Raybin’s Beach. Hurricane Sandy scattered the rubble leaving behind a horseshoe crab death trap. During May crabs would attempt to spawn on the thin strand of sand beneath the crumbling concrete and the bay would sweep the crabs into the rubble. Our project will correct it by removing rubble from the intertidal shore and covering all with all our sand.
The second important reason for this project lies in the location of this beach. Just east of south Fortescue Egg Island Marsh stretching out to the horizon. Its the largest continuous marsh on Delaware Bay. A thin sandy beach fronts the marsh providing a good roost for shorebirds including red knots during high tide. At the lower tides the birds seek foraging on Fortecue beach and beaches further west. Our new beach will substantially increase foraging opportunities for the birds. This is important. In the last two years nearly half of the hemisphere's population of red knot were found using Egg Island.
Our first job is to remove the rubble and to do that Boomer Huen, one of three partners of H4 construction company, will use the first truck loads of sand to build a safe platform for the excavator. From this perch, the compact car size bucket will lift sand dumped on the road way over the berm onto the beach. Last Friday, we used 15 truckload of sand. On Monday, March 23 we started doing 100 truckloads.
This map shows the proximity of South Fortescue Beach to Egg Island.
This section of Fortescue Beach shows the rubble to be remove in the intertidal beach and the hazard of the derelict bulkhead and the rubble behind it.
Dr. Larry Niles has led efforts to protect red knots and horseshoe crabs for over 30 years.