River News: Storm Surge Solutions, Surf Contest, Submarine Inventor

October 30, 2018
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By Chris Rotolo |

Army Corps Extends Storm Surge Plan Timeline

Following months of public pushback, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers announced it would extend the timeline of its proposed plan to construct a storm surge barrier of steel and concrete that would stretch across the entrance to the New York Harbor from Breezy Point to Sandy Hook.

The storm surge barrier is one of six feasible concepts under consideration, all of which are designed to combat damaging stormwaters and coastal flooding during severe weather events like Super Storm Sandy, hurricanes or tropical storms.

However, according to Cindy Zipf, executive director of the Highlands-based environ- mental group Clean Ocean Action, this particular concept could cause irreparable dam- age to local waterways and leave other coastal communities vulnerable.

“This project in itself is impossible to comprehend, because, though it may provide some protection to those lucky communities (in the Bayshore), those on the other side, including Sandy Hook and other towns in the Two River-region, would be swamped with flooding. The water has to go somewhere. It’ll find a way.”

Zipf added that the introduction of an unnatural construction in that natural setting will alter the ecosystem and change the hydrology of the area, potentially causing more damaging patterns of erosion on local beaches, as well as rerouting the mating paths of certain sea life.

“This isn’t a project we need. The scale and scope of what they’re talking about is just wacky and a waste of tax payer dollars. We need to direct this energy toward more sensible solutions,” Zipf said.

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The process of identifying a course of action was expected to be completed by the fall, but the Corps announced last week it would extend the timeline until spring 2020 to allow for more time and transparency.

The Corps held a public meeting Oct. 23 in Long Island, but no future public meeting dates have been announced.

Ron Morano

Monmouth U, Clean Ocean Action Partner for Conservation Panel 

On Oct. 27, a “Conservation Panel” discussion will be held at the Eatontown Barnes & Noble in the Monmouth Mall at 3 p.m.

The event will feature an expert discus- sion that includes John Morano, Monmouth University professor and author of the Eco- Adventure Series; Cindy Zipf, Clean Ocean Action executive director; and Tony MacDonald, Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute director.

The group will address various eco-sensitive topics, including the different threats facing Jersey Shore marine environments and wildlife. A Q&A with the audience will follow the discussion, capped by a book signing with Morano.


Clean Ocean Action Hosts Sold-Out Surf Contest, Beach Sweeps

Weather, wind and water conditions were perfect for Clean Ocean Action’s Open Surf Competition at Seven Presidents OceanFront Park in Long Branch earlier this month.

Surfers in eight divisions caught waves at the Oct. 7 event, including 4-year-old Kevin Flaherty and Vincent Troniec, who is in his 70s.

Some of the best professional surfers in New York and New Jersey competed, including Mike Gleason, Sam Hammer, Tom Ihnken, Tom Petriken, Jon Smyth and Brendan Tighe.

Hammer took first place in the Pro Division and generously donated his $1,000 prize to Clean Ocean Action.

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“This epic day just kept getting better,” said Cindy Zipf, Clean Ocean Action executive director. “The day began with the steady migration of the many pods of dolphins head- ing south for the winter and was topped off by this unexpected and most generous gift by Sam Hammer. This was an incredible, inspiring day.”

The daylong contest was followed by a short beach sweep and an after party presented by 2nd Jetty Seafood in Sea Bright, where the award ceremony took place.

More than 3,000 volunteers gathered Saturday morning at 60 beaches to retrieve debris from shorelines.

This replica of Simon Lake’s submarine, Argonaut Junior, sits in the Atlantic Highlands Harbor parking lot. Simon Lake will be the subject of a talk at Bahrs Landing Nov. 7. Photo by Rick Geffken

Presentation on Simon Lake, New Jersey’s Submarine Inventor

In 1893 the U.S. Navy sponsored the Great Submarine Contest, which pitted New Jersey’s Simon Lake against John Holland and others.

Lake had conducted early and successful submarine experiments in the Shrewsbury River near his home in Atlantic Highlands, and at the confluence of the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers, where he piloted a wheeled wooden submersible along the bottom of the rivers.

Rick Geffken, a local noted historian and contributor to The Two River Times, will show images and tell stories about Lake’s failures and ultimate triumph in a presentation to be held Wednesday, Nov. 7 at Bahrs Landing restaurant, 2 Bay Ave., Highlands. Come for coffee and cookies at 7:30 p.m. Presentation 8-9 p.m. Free admission.

This article was first published in the Oct. 25-31, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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