By DON STINE
The current dredging of Deal Lake, which began this week, will help prevent flooding but what is also needed is a long-term solution to prevent ocean water from getting into the lake during storms, officials say.
“One item that will be critical is a surge gate,” Deal Lake Commission Chairman Don Brockel said. “We are not talking about a new gate house but rather a surge gate or a one-way baffle on our outfall line closer to the ocean.”
A $1.66 million dredging project that will remove 12,000 cubic yards of sand pushed into the 158-acre lake during Superstorm Sandy began this week.
“But that is only the tip of the needed iceberg-size fix. At the top of the list is a means to shut off ocean water during large storms. A surge gate is our number one priority,” Brockel said.
He said future dredging, storm scepters to catch sand, and the surge gate are major issues that need to be addressed in the future.
“It’s a combination of resiliency issues but we need to slow down incoming storm water. It would be one less thing to worry about and the existing flume can’t control flooding from incoming water,” he said.
Brockel said the Deal Lake Commission has until the end of this year to submit the estimated $6.9 million proposal to the Department of Environmental Protection’s [DEP] Flood Hazard Risk Reduction and Mitigation Program.
The surge gate, if approved, would be placed at the beginning of the Eighth Avenue jetty. It would not be allowed to be closed during periods of fish migrating into Deal Lake to spawn.
“It would also only be used during large nor’easters or hurricanes, especially during high tides and full moons. More than a four- or five-foot tidal surge is a problem, especially with the right winds” he said.
Brockel said the commission will know if its proposal will be funded sometime next year and, if approved, the project is expected to begin in 2017.