Jersey Shore beaches ready for Memorial Day weekend

Toni Yates Image
Friday, May 26, 2017
Memorial Day Weekend kicks off in Seaside Heights
Toni Yates reports

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, New Jersey (WABC) -- There has been a major overhaul along the Jersey Shore in Seaside Heights.

Superstorm Sandy devastated so much of the coastline, but Friday the kickoff to summer began at the boardwalk.

There are a lot of new attractions, including the new Hydrus roller coaster.

It replaces the old Jet Star that was destroyed during the storm.

Meantime, experts say it is looking sweet for tourism.

The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is the watch group whose purpose is to monitor the shores from Cape May County to Monmouth County.

"New Jersey beaches are in great shape, water quality is excellent," said Bob Martin, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

They analyze the environmental and manmade effects on the coast, and spearhead ways to preserve the shoreline and its communities.

From Superstorm Sandy to the most recent nor'easters, 11 projects have been underway to strengthen the coast.

"The point of having the beach nourishment and marsh is to make us more resilient," said Dr. John Miller, Coastal Specialist.

But there are still court battles underway against homeowners who've not signed off on Army Corps of Engineer projects that supporters say would create a heartier barrier to erosion.

But some environmentalists say even those solutions are not enough.

"The sand to the north, the sand to the south moves south, no sand fills the area so it's vulnerable," Dr. Miller said.

Ortley Beach is a major project. It is narrow and that's not good for inland protection.

The consortium is also keeping an ear to Washington, looking long range. Many of these shore replenishment projects get federal funding in areas President Trump is considering cutting out of the budget.

"As a researcher who depends on federal money, I'm concerned," Dr. Miller said.

Back to the holiday weekend, the report is that the waters are clean, the sands are swept, and the shore is ready for summer.