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Officials Say Beach Replenishment Projects Helped Protect Towns From Sandy

(Hurricane Sandy displaced tons of sand, including in Sea Isle City, NJ.  Photo by David Madden)

(Hurricane Sandy displaced tons of sand, including in Sea Isle City, NJ. Photo by David Madden)

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By Pat Loeb

LONG BEACH ISLAND, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey officials say they’re still studying how the multimillion-dollar beach replenishment efforts stood up to Superstorm Sandy, but the US Army Corps of Engineers says the program did just what it was supposed to.

Federal, state, and local governments have spent some $700 million over the last 25 years, pumping sand from the ocean onto beaches to create a buffer between towns and storm-tossed seas.

Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Ed Voigt says Sandy shows the beach replenishment efforts work.

“Every place where there was one of these engineered beach projects in place, the community fared relatively — relatively — well.  There was still flooding in some cases, but as far as the direct impact of the storm, the projects definitely seemed to help,” he said today.

Voigt acknowledges the projects themselves — both the dunes and the extra beach — often took a beating.  He says it will be up to the state and towns to decide whether to rebuild them.

A spokesman for the State of New Jersey says Governor Christie is still deciding how best to protect the coastline.