Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-6) spoke about the importance of beach replenishment for what Menendez called "one of our greatest resources," the Jersey Shore on Friday afternoon.
"We are here to protect New Jersey's coastline," Menendez said during a press conference The Shores Condominium in Monmouth Beach.
Pallone and Menendez recently helped secure $7.5 million in beach replenishment funding for municipalities from Sandy Hook to the Barnegat Inlet, a 21-mile section of beaches.
The $7.5 million coupled with $2.5 in federal funding and roughly $5 million in state funding will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to begin the project this fall. Pallone said the project could be completed by early next year, and possibly as early as March.
The Army Corps of Engineers will begin work in Monmouth Beach, and Pallone said work could begin in nearby municipalities such as Sea Bright and the northern section of Long Branch as well. Long Branch beaches near and south of Pier Village were replenished several years ago.
"Monmouth Beach is a magnificent stretch of coastline and with this project, it will gain protection and be restored," Menendez said. "When the Army Corps of Engineers oversees this $13 million beach replenishment project, it will make a huge difference to the community, to safety and to tourism."
Menendez said a large barge with construction equipment will dig up sand from the bottom of the ocean and it will later be piped onto beaches.
"It will take time and manpower and give people work," Menendez said.
Menendez and Pallone also spoke out against offshore drilling.
"We have fought every effort to pursue offshore drilling," Menendez said.
He said it is "unacceptable" to Jersey Shore residents' way of life and the tourism industry.
Pallone recently reintroduce the No New Drilling Act, which would put a stop to offshore drilling in area not currently being leased nationwide which would include the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
The funding Pallone and Menendez secured also allowed dredging in the Shark River Inlet to begin this week.
The Army Corps of Engineers will remove approximately 30,000 cubic yards from the entrance of the inlet, allowing an influx of boating traffic this summer.