By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Workers, today, begin the task of removing thousands of tons of stones from Cape May beaches, stones that were accidentally deposited there during a beach replenishment project.
Beach replenishment has been very good to Cape May. Every two years since 1990, the Army Corps of Engineers has moved sand from the ocean floor to the shore, creating a beach where once there was none. This year, city administrator Bruce McLeod says, they did something a little different.
“There was a trial exercise referred to as ‘backpassing.'”
While the Army Corps of Engineers was trying to outdo nature, nature played a little trick on them. McLeod says the corps did a trial project last winter, where they carried sand from one beach, where they decided there was excess, to another they determined was deficient.
“No one anticipated that we would uncover, if you will, this layer of stone.”
As McLeod explains it, pebbles from the ocean floor were brought ashore by dredging during previous replenishment efforts. They settled in a layer about a foot below the sand and when the corps scraped it up to move it, the pebbles ended up on top.
McLeod says visitors and residents have come to expect that fine white sand South Jersey is famous for. “We felt that this was something we should make an effort to clean up.”
The clean-up is expected to take about a month, with a short break for Memorial Day weekend.