The Jersey Shore Scrambles to Save its Beaches

Starting late last week, dump trucks have been hauling load after load--tons of sand, from an inland quarry to the end of one private street in Long Beach Township, on LBI.

It is a desperate race to save several homes, two of which already had the ocean waves wash underneath them just a few days ago.

How long will these 100 loads of emergency sand last?

"Who knows, next storm?" was the only answer bulldozer operator and DPW employee Dave Bavusco could give.

Just a mile or so up the shore, in Harvey Cedars, the Army Corps of Engineers is two months away from finishing a winter long effort to rebuild the beaches of that battered shore town.

For the past few years, several homeowners in Harvey Cedars have been living on the edge, and 2nd row co-op owner Bob Steiger wondered if his address might not soon be changing "from ocean view to oceanfront."

But the Army Corps beach rebuilding is widening the town's beach from perhaps 15 yards to nearly 100 yards.

And Steiger's wife Dorothy won't have to worry about him standing on the ramp and getting knocked over by a rogue wave, which happened to him during one of last fall's Nor'easters. "When he got back he was sopping wet and covered with foam," said Dorothy Steiger.

Back in Long Beach Township, the largest community on LBI, Mayor Joseph Mancini has several hot spots to worry about--at 56th Street, and 77th, and elsewhere.

He has most of the easements signed by property owners for an Army Corp project on his beaches, but no guarantee the federal money will be there in October.

"I'm hopeful, I'm not confidant," said Mayor Mancini.

But if there's a late season Nor'easter like the one that struck last Mother's Day?

"We'd have a little problem. We'd have a lot of people working 24 hours a day to get the beaches ready, a lot of money being spent on a temporary basis," said the Mayor.

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