On the River: Waiting for the Tide

 

coaster-news-200-newBy DON STINE

Things are pretty normal this year at the Shark River Yacht Club in Neptune but high tides still control the destiny of its boaters.

The Shark River is so filled in with sediment that boaters can only leave the club’s docks for one hour on either side of a high tide.

“We are still renting our boat slips anyway but boaters come and go by the tide. Everyone, at this point, knows what the situation is. Boaters still need to wait until a high tide before they can leave or come back in,” Yacht Club Commodore Bill Geschke said.

A contract to dredge about 106,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Shark River’s navigational channels is expect to be awarded by early September.

Geschke said that his club still wants to see more extensive dredging to the Shark River, and not just to navigational channels.

“Otherwise, this will become a dead river. The back channels need to be dredged as well to get the water moving- then everything will come back. They want to do a few channels but the rest of the river needs to be done to get life back into the river,” he said.

Sen. Jennifer Beck said that a contract to dredge the river’s navigational channels is expected to be awarded the beginning of September but that the time frame for the project will ultimately be up to the contractor.

“It’s really up to the contractor who wins the bid to say how the project will be done,” she said.

Federal regulations allow dredging only from September through December in the Shark River.

Beck said that seven potential contractors have shown interest in the contract.

“So this is a great sign,” she said.

She also said that a private landfill owner has come forward and may want to take some of the dredge materials. Current plans have the materials going to either the Neptune or county landfills.

“They might even be able to be sold. It’s very, very clean and meets residential standards,” Becksaid.

The Shark River Yacht Club, at 360 S. Riverside Drive, is putting up a new $2 million club house building after the original one was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. The club relies on its annual rentals from its 80 boat slips to pay for its expenses.

“So, money-wise, we are OK this year,” Geschke said.

He said that the pilings are in and the concrete floor has been poured for the new club house. He said framing should begin soon and that he hope the new club house will be up and running by the spring.

If the Shark River remains filled in, then it will become dead with little or no marine life, according to environmentalists. An original dredging study, conducted more than 10 years ago, estimated that about 1.5 million cubic yards of material would have to be removed to restore the entire river.

The river was last dredged in 1980 and it borders five municipalities: Wall, Neptune, Neptune City, Avon and Belmar.

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