Letters

Opposition Position

Nov 20, 2019
Courtesy of: Mike Pierro

To the Editor:

The SandPaper could have added information to the Oct. 30 article on the Eagleswood Dock Road dredging project that would have provided a more accurate, fair and balanced story. As far as I know, none of the people involved in fighting the New Jersey Department of Transportaion plan for a regional dredge spoil facility being placed on Dock Road were contacted for the article.

The printed story showed a photo of lawn signs in support of the NJDOT project, and the online article showed a resident in favor of the NJDOT project. There are signs on Dock Road that are opposed to the regional “dump,” and there are Dock Road residents, other than the litigants, who are opposed to the regional dump being placed on Dock Road.

Some other important facts regarding this proposed project that did not appear in the story are listed below.

• The opposition to the project is based on the NJDOT plan for a regional dredge spoil facility being placed on Dock Road. The site is bordered by Little Egg Harbor Bay, a Green Acres recreational pier, the Forsythe Refuge and residential homes. The plan has 20-foot-high berms around the 26-acre site with roads on top of the berms. Over 250,000 cubic yards of dredge spoils would be pumped onto the site. Seven acres of wetlands are inside the berms and would be destroyed. The dredge spoils would be excavated, and trucked out the 3-mile stretch of Dock Road. Most of Dock Road is 40 mph and has no shoulder. Each truck would hold 11 cubic yards. Do the math. This dredging, drying, trucking process would repeat and repeat for the entire region. In the DOT’s own words, “perpetually.”

• In 2005 the DOT purchased the 26-acre site from a private owner for a little over $500,000. At that time the property was assessed for over 1 million. The property has been off  Eagleswood’s tax rolls since the state purchased it. It has, and continues to be, a great tax loss to the town.

• An engineer’s letter states that the weight of the 250,00 cubic yards of wet dredge spoils and the anticipated truck traffic could exert pressure on the infrastructure (sewer system, well shafts and gas lines), and also damage the road. This is partially because the material under the road is wet mud, silt and peat.

• A confined space disposal facility (CDF) expert has produced a detailed report that condemns the close proximity of this proposed project to homes for numerous reasons, one of which is a potential health threat.

• An environmental expert has produced a report explaining the devastating effect this project would have on local wildlife.

I wrote to the town over five years ago asking for everyone to work together, instead of against each other, to get Westecunk Creek dredged. Instead of using the environmentally devastating, health-threatening, inefficient, antiquated method of making a dump with dredge spoils, my suggestion was to build back up eroding estuary coastlines, add thin layers to the meadows, and replace lost island habitat in the bay. These environmental friendly and efficient solutions would help our area deal with rising sea levels and storm surge.

Having a regional dredge spoil facility in Eagleswood is not exactly a “feather in our cap.” It will not be good for the town. Many other things could be done with that property to enhance the town. Why must Eagleswood take everyone’s dredge spoils anyway?

Mike Pierro

Eagleswood

 

 

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