Spoiling Dock Road

Jul 31, 2019

To the Editor:

The state Department of Transportation has applied to the state Department of Environmental Protection, for a second time, for a regional dredge spoil facility at the end of Dock Road in Eagleswood Township.

Although no one I know is opposed to dredging Westecunk Creek, residents at the end of Dock Road are waging a legal battle to stop the DOT and the DEP from using 26 acres at the end of the road for the spoils. We are supported in different ways by three prominent New Jersey environmental organizations: Environment New Jersey, Save Barnegat Bay and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

The first time we fought this project we had a petition with 80 signatures of West Creek residents (most from Dock Road) who wanted the creek dredged but were opposed to using the end of Dock Road for the dredge spoils.

Our position is that there are many better uses for the dredge spoils other than defiling 26 acres on Little Egg Harbor Bay. Replacement of lost island habitat, re-establishing eroded estuary coastlines and thin layer placement on the meadows to help withstand sea level rise and storm surge are all more environmentally friendly and more efficient alternatives.

Even if better alternatives did not exist, we feel that the placement of hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of dredge spoils so close to our homes poses a serious health threat to us and our families. As the silty dredge spoils dry, they will become airborne in the windy conditions of Dock Road and inevitably enter our homes. Our families would inhale and ingest this fine dust.

Many specious of plant and animal life, some threatened, would be destroyed, damaged or displaced by the project. When this site was disturbed in 1982, rodents were reportedly running everywhere.

The end of Dock Road would be a construction site with heavy equipment and trucks traveling in and out. Once the site is operational, thousands of dump trucks would travel in empty, be loaded with dredge spoils, and ride back out Dock Road. They would most likely leak and lose spoils along the way. Most of Dock Road is 40 mph and has no shoulder. Walking your dog, biking and jogging would become dangerous.

The impact of the thousands of heavy trucks bouncing along Dock Road at 40 mph could wreak havoc on the pressurized sewer system and possibly cause a rupture to the new high-pressure gas main that feeds LBI.

The end of Dock Road would become a mining pit. On top of 20-foot berms would be another 10 feet of phragmites. Effectively the DOT would create a 30-foot wall. The adjacent homes would lose their 30-mile view to the south.

Property values of the adjacent homes would plummet, as would their tax assessment. This loss of tax revenue would be shifted to the rest of the town.

Noxious odors from decaying sea life and vegetation could last a couple of years after each time new spoils are pumped in.

The town should not allow this plan to happen. Let’s face it, a “regional dredge spoil facility” is not exactly a feather in our cap. It would be an ugly, smelly, tax-reducing, health-threatening project.

Michael Pierro



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