This beach is severely degraded, lying far behind eroded marsh. The over-washing tides threaten the bayside houses of both Gandys Beach and Money Island and ultimately the road into both communities. We propose to employ an integrated approach of restoring eroded marsh and beach while creating oyster reefs offshore to provide wave attenuation to help reduce future erosion.
Project 1a: BENEFICIAL USE OF DREDGING MATERIAL TO RESTORE BEACH AND DEGRADED MARSH GANDY – MONEY ISLAND BEACH
This project will require significant effort to permit, as the historic beach is lost and rebuilding must take place on wetlands. Two different methods of restoration are possible:
1. Trucking sand into the area from both the Money Island and Gandy’s ends.
2. Dredging Nantuxent Creek, segregating the silt and sand deposits, then depositing the sand on the beach and using thin layer spray application techniques to place the silt on the eroded marsh.
Trucking sand will be the most predictable method, although permitting will be made difficult because the old beach has been completed eroded and the new beach will have to be placed on intertidal wetland.
The latter method, dredging Nantuxent Creek and rebuilding eroded marsh would provide the best method to create a resilient beach and marsh by aiding the local community in achieving regular dredging. With this option, geotubes will be placed in current intertidal areas in the former footprint of the salt marsh, between 50 and 200 meters from the current marsh boundary, depending on the location along the shoreline. The area landward of the geotubes will be filled with silt from dredging operations, while the area above and seaward of the geotubes will be built into beach and dunes using sand-based dredge materials. Geotubes will be filled with mixed sand and silt from dredge operations.
Nantuxent Creek is the home port for most of the NJ Oyster Fleet, so the economic impact of regular dredging would be important. Restoring this beach and marsh would have a similar positive impact on horseshoe crabs and shorebirds. Dredging in all NJ navigable waterways is impeded by the inability to dispose of silt. Thin layer application would help overcome this vexing problem.
Dredging will create three permitting hurdles: the dredging operation itself; permitting the construction of beach on an eroding marsh edge; and the thin layer restoration of the degraded marshes. In addition, we do not propose to include the cost of dredging, which must be done by state or federal entities. We propose only beach construction and thin layer application of the silts. This creates significant uncertainty. Monitoring will help determine the feasibility of thin layer application and the resiliency of this beach, specifically how often sand must be applied to achieve meaningful protection and optimal crab spawning habitat.
Timing: We suggest this project begin with resolving regulatory issues and attempt a start in year 3 of this project.
Project 1b: WAVE-ATTENUATING OYSTER REEFS TO REDUCE SHORELINE EROSION OF THE RESTORED GANDY-MONEY ISLAND BEACH.
In order to stem the rate of erosion seen in recent years at this beach, we will implement cultivated oysters breakwaters to help attenuate wave action on the restored beach and marsh. Oyster reefs will be built and maintained by local oystermen and we hope these reefs will create new a lasting income for bay residents as well as protecting beaches from the most destructive influences of the sea.
Shorebirds depend on an uninterrupted supply of horseshoe crab eggs. Each year egg resources are reduced in some or all the bay because wind-driven waves halt egg laying and overturn crabs, thus increasing mortality of crabs from desiccation or predation. This project will create new artificial oyster reefs that will attenuate waves but allow crab breeding. In existing areas where crabs can breed without interruption, like creek mouths protected by sand shoals, or Mispillion Harbor, Delaware, which is protected by rock jetties, egg densities can exceed ten times the egg densities on unprotected beaches.
Timing: Year 3, in conjunction with other 1a restoration activities.