Towns Want More Defenses To Protect Against Flooding

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Most people hope Superstorm Sandy was a once-in-a-lifetime disaster. But they also think that preparation should be done to prevent such an occurrence if it does happen again.

The Army Corps of Engineers held a meeting in Toms River recently, discussing possible plans for what they could do, with the Department of Environmental Protection, to minimize the damage of storms like this. They are expected to finalize a plan by 2022. The plans go beyond just fortifying beaches after they are washed away. They are considering man-made structures, like sea walls, to manage the water in the Barnegat Bay.

George Kasimos became an unwilling expert on flood damage and rebuilding after his home was hit by Sandy. He has said the federal government’s poor handling of it caused him to create the group Stop FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Now. He said it would protect at least 225,000 residents and at least $20 billion in property.

Another benefit is that it would remove the need for homeowners to raise their homes, and lower flood insurance premiums, he said. One thing that added insult to injury after Sandy was that homeowners had to raise their houses and pay huge increases to their insurance payments, all the while recovering from the flood.

He urged local towns to pass resolutions in support of the sea wall in the bay.

Berkeley Township passed a resolution supporting a “Barnegat Bay Sea Wall Projection Project.” Bill McGrath, a planner and surveyor who heads up the volunteer Waterways Advisory Committee, said that this plan could provide protections in case of another Sandy.

The Toms River Township Council also passed a resolution requesting the DEP and Army Corps install sea walls in the Barnegat Bay.

“When we look at the flooding from (Superstorm) Sandy, how much of it came from the bay side?” Councilman George Wittmann Jr. said.

If the Army Corps of Engineers is protecting the ocean front with the dune project, then the bayfront should also be protected, Councilman Maurice Hill said.