The Christie Administration has awarded a nearly $1.66 million contract to remove sand pushed by Superstorm Sandy into Deal Lake, the largest in a series of unique coastal lakes in Monmouth County that were severely impacted by the storm, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
The contract to dredge 12,000 cubic yards of material was awarded to Tri-State Dredging of Philadelphia. The project is being funded through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service. The NRCS is providing more than $1.5 million through its Emergency Watershed Protection program. The DEP is providing a $154,600 match.
"We are very pleased to be moving forward with the Deal Lake dredging project, which is the latest in series of projects the Christie Administration is undertaking to restore this region's network of unique coastal lakes that were severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy," said Commissioner Martin. "The nonprofit Deal Lake Commission has been a key partner in coordinating and raising awareness for the need for this project, which will focus on removing silt and sand from six acres of the easternmost portion of the lake."
Removal of this sand will make the lake more accessible for recreation and will restore natural flushing of the lake by removing sand adjacent to the 'flume' gatehouse that currently restricts tidal flow.
"The removal of storm surge sediments from Deal Lake is the last of 17 recovery projects funded by the Natural Resources Conservation Service following Hurricane Sandy," said NRCS New Jersey Director Carrie Lindig. "This work, sponsored by the Department of Environmental Protection and assisted through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, will benefit the surrounding communities and help to restore the lower portion of Deal Lake."
Don Brockel, Chairman of the Deal Lake Commission, said the project will reduce flooding and its impacts, improve water quality and reopen recreational opportunities on the lake, long popular among boaters, anglers, canoeists, kayakers, paddle boaters and nature lovers.
"This is wonderful news. It has been a long road back for Deal Lake from Superstorm Sandy," said Brockel. "The DLC has been working closely with the NJDEP, the NRCS, and the City of Asbury Park to secure these dredging funds. A big thanks to those folks. We hope this will be the first of many other dredging projects that can make Deal Lake more flood resilient and to fully restore it back to pre-Sandy conditions."
Dredging of the lake is expected to begin next month and will take about 90 days to complete, under permits issued by the DEP and the Army Corps of Engineers. The work has been scheduled for the fall to avoid impacts on local roadways and summer tourism. This portion of the lake will be restored to a depth of four feet.
Deal Lake is a 158-acre manmade body of water with 12.5 miles of shoreline that has served as a recreational haven treasured for its beauty and utilized by residents and vacationers for fishing and boating for more than a century. The lake touches on Allenhurst, Asbury Park, Deal, Interlaken, Loch Arbour, Neptune Township and Ocean Township and is part of a string of unique coastal lakes that stretch along the Monmouth County shoreline.
Initial work on restoration of the lake took place after Sandy with the removal of many tons of debris, including splintered wood from docks, trees and mangled pieces of structures. The flume gate house has also been restored.
As part of its ongoing efforts to restore these lakes from the impacts of Superstorm Sandy, the Christie Administration has worked with numerous municipalities, county government agencies and federal partners to restore these lakes that are an important part of the character along this part of the Jersey shore.
Belmar was one of the first municipalities to receive funding from the DEP's Flood Hazard Risk Reduction grant program, funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program provided nearly $6.2 million for the construction of a discharge piping system for Lake Como, which regularly floods significant portions of the borough when it storms.
The DEP is also working with the federal Natural Resource and Conservation Service to fund $6 million in restoration projects, including the Deal Lake project and a $3.85 million flood hazard control project for 73-acre Wreck Pond, owned by Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Wall and Spring Lake Heights. This project will improve water quality in both the lake and its discharge point to the ocean.
The DEP has already completed a variety of dredging, infrastructure repair and stabilization projects at Lake Fletcher, Lake Como, Lake Takanassee, Lake Wesley, Silver Lake and Sylvan Lake.
For information from the Deal Lake Commission, including a history of the lake and updates on recovery, please visit: http://www.deallake.org/