Officials mark the completion of beach replenishment at Training Center Cape May

Coast Guard Training Center Cape May NewsCAPE MAY, N.J. – Inter-agency partners held a ceremony to mark the completion of a more than $9 million beach replenishment project aboard Coast Guard Training Center Cape May Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard and the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection dispersed the last load of sand from the more than 620,000 cubic yards of sand placed on the Training Center Cape May’s beaches. The Coast Guard base is considered a feeder beach, and ocean currents will carry sand placed here to popular recreational beaches in the City of Cape May.

“If we were standing here a few, short months ago, we’d be in about six feet of water,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Bill Kelly, commander of Training Center Cape May. “The coastal erosion was the worst we’d seen here in decades, and coastal erosion was beginning to threaten our ability to conduct our vital missions here.”

The last beach replenishment occurred in Spring 2009. Since then, some of the worst coastal erosion in more than 20 years allowed water levels at Training Center Cape May to reach record heights. This allowed sea water to threaten the infrastructure of the training center as well as several areas used for training. This high coastal erosion also began impacting recreational beaches in the City of Cape May.

The increased threat posed by coastal erosion to Coast Guard operations at Training Center Cape May prompted the Army Corps and the Coast Guard to make this project a high priority. The agencies partnered with the N.J. DEP and began work on the project in October 2011.

“The project has more than paid for itself in a variety of ways, by protecting this vital Coast Guard base from erosion, by saving the precious community of Cape May from storm damage, (and) by ensuring that there are wide and inviting beaches for residents and tourists alike to enjoy,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Philip Secrist, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District.

The Army Corps was the lead agency for this effort and contributed more than $7 million to the project. As the lead agency, the Army Corps also coordinated all aspects of the project’s planning and execution. The Coast Guard supported the Army Corps contributing more than $1.2 million and provided critical support and logistical services to the Army Corps’ and its contractors. The N.J. DEP contributed more than $800,000 to the project and ensured alignment with environmental laws and concerns as well as coordinating with local municipalities.

In addition to pumping sand from offshore to the beach, the Cape May project included a redistribution or “backpassing” of sand. Approximately 70,000 cubic yards was excavated from an area where there was an excess, in the vicinity of Convention Hall, and trucked to an area where there was a need, in the vicinity of Wilmington Ave.

The Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, the principal contractor on the project, pumped the 620,000 cubic yards of sand from the borrow area offshore to Coast Guard Training Center Cape May. A subcontractor, Arthur R. Henry, Inc., executed the backpass operation.

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