Signs warn visitors to stay off the jetties. Beach nourishment though needed is unlikely without federal funding. Press of Atlantic City.

NJ - No federal beach work for North Wildwood until at least 2023

NORTH WILDWOOD — On a weekday afternoon, a dog and its owner work their way through a steady December wind sweeping across the beach in the troublesome northeast corner of Five Mile Beach.

The tide is out, so there is a wide, flat beach at Second Street and a narrow patch of sand at the end of a stone seawall, but it is clear that high tide will reach the rocks.

A federal project is in the works, but it will be 2023 at the earliest before federal money adds a grain of sand to the beach.

In the meantime, the city has tried to stem the tide itself.

For the past six years, the city has trucked sand in to the area in the offseason, both so there will be some beach there for the summer and to protect against damage from winter storms.

The process is expensive, and according to Mayor Pat Rosenello, most years the added sand erodes quickly.

Last winter, the city trucked thousands of cubic yards of sand to the site. Starting in late January, plans are to do it again, at an estimated cost of more than $3 million. The sand will be pulled from the beaches of Wildwood in a process called backpassing, with the expectation that the incoming tides will replace the sand gathered from the wider beaches.

According to Rosenello, there is no way for North Wildwood to keep up with erosion on its north end using trucked-in sand.

He’s hoping for a longer-term solution in the form of a federal beach replenishment project. Even while acknowledging the analogy is somewhat off-putting, he compares the situation to trying to flush a five-pound bucket of sand down a toilet.

If a few spoonsful are added at a time, he said, the sand can be flushed away.

“But you put that whole bucket in, then that sand isn’t going anywhere,” Rosenello said.

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