U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-2nd, says the decision could save the municipalities about $6.5 million. Photo by Colton Shaw / Press of Atlantic City

New Jersey: Hereford Inlet can be dredged, feds say. Coastal communities plan to take advantage

NORTH WILDWOOD — There’s a makeover in store for the beaches of North Wildwood, Avalon and Stone Harbor.

He called it a “plus, plus, plus.”

Van Drew called Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and explained South Jersey’s position. Bernhardt was receptive, Van Drew said, and agreed to meet with local stakeholders, including Avalon Mayor Marty Pagliughi, North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello and Stone Harbor Mayor Judy Davies-Dunhour, all of whom stood behind Van Drew on a sand dune Friday morning to announce the change.

Rosenello pointed to the beach behind them to illustrate the former restrictions’ impact. What is just “bare sand” now was once acres of mayberry bushes and dunes populated with coyotes and foxes when he was a kid. Migratory birds stopped to feed there in the spring and fall, he said.

Restrictions in the Coastal Barrier Resource Act kept the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from dredging Hereford Inlet to replenish the towns’ diminishing beachfronts for years. Those constraints have now been lifted, according to U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-2nd, and the decision could save the municipalities about $6.5 million.

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