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Dredge arrives for start of east-end beach project

From Press staff reports

CAPE MAY - A dredge arrived off the coast Monday and, within a few days, will begin to move sand toward the city's east-end beaches, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced.

The dredge was supposed to arrive Friday but was delayed for a couple days by hurricane activity, said Army Corps' spokesman Merv Brokke. The plan is to replenish city beaches before moving down the coast and restoring beaches in Lower Township and Cape May Point.

Brokke said one of the goals is to fill a scour hole that is between 65 and 85 feet deep off Cape May Point, near St. Mary's By The Sea. The dredge should fill in the Lower Township beaches next to South Cape May Meadows sometime in November
 

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Looking at the plans they are really going to put alot of sand on the point beaches. Looks like many of the jetties there will be in the water no more and some prime fishing area will be lost.
 

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The front jetties just don't hold fish like they used to after replenishment Once you loose that growth thats it.

Now we'll be able to walk in front of the bunker again.
 

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The "scour hole", I believe, is right over the front of Lehigh Ave. jetty. We're gonna lose everything down there; all we can do is hope that the result creates new structure that will produce fish...but I doubt it'll be the same.

The bigger problem, in my opinion, will be access...

Make no mistake, both residents and officials of Cape May Point have become less and less tolerant of anglers as the years have progressed, and I wouldn't be surprised to see an attempt made to restrict our access on a more permanent basis.

My wife and I were part of a discussion just a few weeks ago between people who own beachfront homes there. They didn't know who I was, and they were speaking about ways to keep fishermen out of the area. They cited problems with noise, trash, urination and feces left on their property (yep), fish guts, and parking problems. In their words, fishermen "make a real mess of the place."

They even went so far as to complain about the "armada" of boats that "ruin their view" of the ocean in spring and fall (they pointed toward Prissy Wicks as they spoke). One individual went so far as to say that he inquired about the possibility of putting restrictions on boats out in the rips at certain times of the year, but in his words, "Apparently that is, like, one of the best spots in the world for fishing, and people come from miles around to fish there, so there's too much money tied up in it." Although it sounds comical, this is an absolutely true story. Believe me, it was tough to keep my composure!

I don't mean to imply that everybody who lives there is that closed-minded, just using this as a true illustration of what we're dealing with, not only at Cape May Point, but all along the coast. It should also underscore the importance of treating every place we fish with absolute respect. There's always somebody watching!

If anybody knows more about the beach replenshment plans down at Cape May Point, give me a yell, I'd like to hear more.
 

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I gotta hand it to ya for keeping your composure BIlly! You're a much better man then me


If it were me, I would have put that bird watcher in a Figure 4 Leg Lock. Then I would have followed up with a Pile Driver and asked "Hows that for a view?" :mad:

Just kidding ;)

Seriously Bill, you're right! We need to watch what we do and by all means respect the areas we fish. That includes boat ramps, marinas, etc.

The "armada" of boats that "ruin their view"...please :rolleyes:
 

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Some time back I read a report, not sure where, but it indicated that legaly the beaches are not owned by the people that live in front of them. This would be intresting to do some research on.

[ 10-08-2004, 11:32 AM: Message edited by: bluefishbones ]
 

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I reserve 50.00 worth of balls for the dunk tank. But the pet bluefish that chomps down the stripers to legal slot size,gotta borrow him for the night :D :D . It is true about debree look at any fishing spot along the bridges and you'll see alot of trash all along the bulkheads. We really do need to take stock in our surroundings. Bring a trash bag with you and take it out when you leave. Even better leave with it full. If enough people do it ther'll be alot less Slob fisherpersons that will be able to continue their practices without getting some flak from the others. Maybe eventually they'll stay clean ;)
...tight lines....wish2fish
 

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We need to put pressure on Malcom to build us a pier or two.. Yeah, right.. he'd restrict access on them to birders anyway...
 

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Ron, I don't think it will have an impact on the water quality in the rips. A few years back, it muddied up the water at the bottom of the ebb and first of the flood, but after that it cleaned up. Additionally, the equipment being used looks updated, and should contain any sand that would have ordinarily spilled into the water. They have been dredging for a couple weeks now, and the rips have been clean.

As for the Cape May point resident, I think a body slam would be in order! :D Good job keeping yourself composed, Bill!
 

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Ron,
"Figure 4 on a bird watcher" -too funny! Real up close and personal type of "birding". Even a blind person would know that bird.
Former wrestler?
Thanks for the picture.
Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #14
October 12, 2004

Dredging under way off Cape May

By RICHARD DEGENER Staff Writer, (609) 463-6711, E-Mail/Press of Atlantic City

CAPE MAY - There are no sea turtles in Kansas, so biologist Keri Goodman got a job on the football-field sized dredging ship R.N.Weeks.

The 25-year-old Kansas City native got her start on the water working on a whale-watching boat before landing a job as an "endangered species observer." The job found her off this seaside resort Monday as the R.N. Weeks is in the process of moving more than one million cubic yards of sand onto beaches in Cape May, Lower Township and Cape May Point.

"The whale-watching job led me to this. I got lucky and have done sea-turtle research for 21/2 years."

There is some conflicted feeling for the Kansas State graduate. She wants to see the giant marine turtles, but seeing them here could mean they're in trouble. That is why the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires such experts to be on the dredges at all its beach-replenishment projects. The Army Corps doesn't want any endangered turtles, whales - which can stop the operation in its tracks - or other species to get hurt.

"I've been here a week, and we've just been getting a lot of stargazers," Goodman said, referring to a fish species.

Dean Robinson, the project manager for the dredging company, Weeks Marine Inc., hopes it stays that way. That's one reason they don't do much dredging in the summer.

"There's been no turtles encountered, and we don't anticipate it because of the water temperature, unless one gets disoriented and comes out of the Gulf Stream," Robinson said.

It isn't just marine species that make it an interesting job of searching the screens that allow sand to pass but stop larger objects, said Meghan Piercy, a 42-year-old observer from New Hampshire. The pumps are moving about 70 cubic yards of sand per minute, and all kinds of things come up with it. At previous jobs, Piercy has found Civil War cannonballs and teeth from the prehistoric shark megladon.

"One time, I got a live shark about three feet long. I put a noose around his neck and I was dragging him down the catwalk like a dog," Piercy said.

The shark, released back into the ocean, was none the worse for wear. If there is a glamorous job on a dredge, the observers have it. Don't tell that to Piercy, though. She likes the job but dreams of being a travel writer.

The jobs of the 17-member crew are not that glamorous and they mostly have one thing on their minds: moving sand. The R.N. Weeks is uniquely suited to the job. The $20 million dollar ship was built to move sand and do it quickly.

The R.N. Weeks is a "split hopper dredge." Sand is pumped into a giant hold in the center of the vessel that can carry about 4,000 cubic yards. The load can be taken right to the top of the site since the hold opens up. This process is used when dredging channels and disposing of the sediments in the ocean.

For this project, the hold is filled and the sand taken to a floating 5,000-foot long pipe that leads to the U.S. Coast Guard base beaches. A second floating pipe is being set up to take sand to Poverty Beach. Ocean water is then shot into the hopper to make a mixture of water and suspended sand that can be pumped through the pipes to the beaches.

But Cape May beaches are like the early round of the playoffs aboard the R.N. Weeks. The real challenge comes some time next month when the operation moves to Cape May Point, where 80 percent of the sand in this $7.9 million project is headed.

The sand could answer some prayers at a summer retreat for nuns since they will try to fill a deep scour hole off St. Mary's By The Sea Convent. The hole is in an area with swift currents and is said to be as much as 85 feet deep. There is some concern that a coastal storm could result in St. Mary's sliding right into the scour hole.

"I think the month of November will be a high focus on Cape May Point and the scour hole," said Jeff Peterson, an Army Corps engineer on the project.

The job will be a challenge, but the good news is that a second dredge, the B.E. Lindholm, will be here by then and there will be less worry about the quality of the sand. It costs more money and time, but smaller screens go on the dredge when moving sand to bathing beaches. The Coast Guard will allow rocks of 4-inch diameter. Cape May will only allow 1-inch diameter. At St. Mary's, they just want the scour hole filled.

In the pilothouse, workers from Weeks Marine are constantly monitoring instruments that tell them about the quality of the sand. They can also look out the window and see it coming into the dredge. The dredge is moved around periodically to find better sand. The goal is yellow sand of a medium to coarse grade. Sometimes it comes in black due to mud and other organic matter.

When mining sand, two metal arms, each weighing 45 tons, are dropped to the ocean floor. Electric motors turn a drive shaft that runs a pump on each "drag arm." At the bottom of the arms is an intake area that looks something like a Hoover vacuum. They call it a "drag head." It has what is known as a "turtle excluder device," on it.

"It looks like a cow catcher. If there are any turtles, it kicks them to the side without sucking them up," said Robinson.

The sand then goes thorough a second set of screens where the observers work. Since it is a federal project, the operation has to conform to the Endangered Species Act and do everything possible to not hurt turtles, whales, horseshoe crabs and other species of concern.

The operation is moving 16,000 cubic yards per day, but that is expected to double when the second dredge arrives. The dredge never stops but the crew works in shifts. Capt. Mike Attisani, 40, of Long Island, works eight hours on, eight off. He's on the dredge for three weeks and then is off three weeks. With his license, he could be running oil tankers, gone for months at a time, so he feels fortunate.

"I didn't know what dredge was when I was going to school. The money is not as good as an oil tanker, but it's a better time on, time off schedule," Attisani said.

At one time, only the Army Corps owned such dredges. Private industry got into it about 1978 as the beach-replenishment market grew, Attisani explained. The R.N. Weeks is state of the art.

"As far as beach building, nothing in the U.S. can touch this dredge," Attisani said.

Mark Steed, 52, concurs. He began dredging in 1972 on the old "bucket dredges" in Florida. Steed, checking an instrument that tells him the sand density in the slurry mix, loves the job.

"It's good work, steady and competitive, and the checks don't bounce," Steed said.

Most on the dredge understand the importance of the work. Deeper channels help world trade since most products are moved by ship. Dredging also helps the fishing industry and seashore resorts that rely on wide beaches. Local residents and tourists are the main customer for this project.

"People think dredges are the big bad wolf, but they're not," Piercy said.

To e-mail Richard Degener at The Press
 

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They even went so far as to complain about the "armada" of boats that "ruin their view" of the ocean in spring and fall (they pointed toward Prissy Wicks as they spoke). One individual went so far as to say that he inquired about the possibility of putting restrictions on boats out in the rips at certain times of the year, but in his words, "Apparently that is, like, one of the best spots in the world for fishing, and people come from miles around to fish there, so there's too much money tied up in it." Although it sounds comical, this is an absolutely true story. Believe me, it was tough to keep my composure!
Not only money but thank goodness for the public trust doctrine.

It is remarks like these that should give all of you the willies.

Enviro groups are looking for any excuse to get no-fishing zones and they have in CA and will anywhere seek out landowners who believe simply viewing the act of fishing is aesthetically offensive and will seek restrictions on your access.

What does aestheticsd have to do with fishery science which is the number one claim of the enviros who are out there seeking closures? Nothing.

[ 10-16-2004, 11:57 AM: Message edited by: egghead ]
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Army Corps to hold meeting on Cape May Point project
By RICHARD DEGENER Staff Writer, (609) 463-6711, E-Mail/Press of Atlantic City

CAPE MAY POINT - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is inviting the public to a seminar Monday to learn more about the upcoming beach-replenishment project set to begin later this month.

The seminar will be held here at the Cape May Point Fire Hall, 412 Yale Avenue, beginning at noon and continuing until about 1:30 p.m. The dredging project is expected to begin within the next couple of weeks. The dredge is actually in Cape May now finishing a project to restore beaches there.

The Army Corps said it would have representatives on hand to provide an overview of the project and answer questions from the public. Local officials and representatives of the state Department of Environmental Protection will also be on hand.

The beach-replenishment work includes pumping 1.4 million cubic yards of sand ashore and constructing a protective dune that runs 1.9 miles from Central Avenue to the city of Cape May, ending at Third Avenue. The beach would then get 650,000 cubic yards of new sand every four years.

The project is not just beach work but also includes environmental restoration at Cape May Point State Park and in the wetlands area nearby known as South Cape May Meadows. This began several weeks ago with herbicide applications to kill the nuisance marsh reed, Phragmites australis, on a 50-acre tract. A controlled burn of the dead phragmites stalks is slated for sometime this winter.

The Army Corps is also planning to install some water-control structures in the meadows area, and do some excavation work, in the latter part of 2005.
 

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I think the nuns are tired of seeing boats with names, such as "Chumstain" while they are in vespers. HAPPY DAYS.


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Originally posted by Ron Redington:
I say we put that Nit Wit in the Dunk Tank at BarnFest 2005...LOL!
Ron, Do I qualify. I could make more money than last year!! HAPPY DAYS.


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This is the dredge that I've been seeing up in the bay I assume?? I've seen it as far north as the Elbow.
 
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