Emergency bulkhead being installed in North Wildwood due to severe beach erosion

Trish Hartman Image
Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Emergency bulkhead being installed in North Wildwood after erosion
Emergency bulkhead being installed in North Wildwood due to severe beach erosion

NORTH WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Pieces of steel are going into the ground at 15th Avenue in North Wildwood, creating a wall around the building that houses the beach patrol.

"So this bulkhead will stop any immediate wave damage to the beach patrol headquarters," said North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello on Monday.

The dunes in front of the building have been eaten away by waves.

The $400,000 project should be done within the week.

The city received an emergency authorization from the state Department of Environmental Protection because of severe erosion.

"We've been watching this area for about a year now. We knew this was coming," said Rosenello. "Unfortunately, the last 10 days we've had northeast winds blowing for almost 10 days straight. A full moon last Friday, we experienced erosion that I've never seen in my lifetime."

North Wildwood has struggled to replenish its beaches in recent years, and at times at odds with the NJDEP.

In years past the city would truck sand from Wildwood's large beaches and drive it north, but city officials say the beach is too narrow for that now.

Last year, the city was sued by the state for making unauthorized interventions.

Now, the state has authorized this emergency project to protect the beach patrol headquarters.

The mayor is hoping to eventually expand this bulkhead, and have the dunes built back up.

"In the short term, we're going to protect ourselves with bulk heading. In the long term, we're waiting on our partners from the Army Corps and the NJDEP," said Rosenello.

Beachgoers enjoying the sun on Monday hope a long-term solution is reached soon.

"It's been an aggressive fall with the storms coming in and no replenishment of the beaches this year, making it worse," said Jim Levin of North Wildwood.

"We couldn't believe it when we came here," said Gene Deppen of Oliver Beach, Md.

He and his wife try to come to North Wildwood every year.

"It's like a whole different world. We didn't realize the storm had affected it so much," said Deppen.

The Army Corps of Engineers and the NJ DEP say they are working on a project to build up the dunes in the Wildwoods, including here in North Wildwood.

Real estate easements still have to go through, however. The Army Corps estimates construction to begin in about 18-24 months.