STONE HARBOR - Since 2016, Avalon, Stone Harbor, and North Wildwood have been impacted by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) interpretation of a provision in the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, passed by Congress in 1982.
The interpretation bans the use of federal funds for beach replenishment and other shore protection efforts that involve the borrowing of sand from Hereford Inlet.
Prior to 2016, the dredging of sand from the inlet for beach nourishment projects was allowed. The position taken by USFWS played havoc with the 2017 replenishment of Stone Harbor beaches. It took place after a plan was cobbled together that involved borough and state funds that had not been an expected part of the project.
On June 4, Stone Harbor Borough Council appointed a Special Environmental and Litigation Counsel jointly with Avalon and North Wildwood. A long period seeking a negotiated or legislatively imposed settlement to the dispute has been unsuccessful.
The resolution appointing the special counsel allows for the option of filing “appropriate litigation against any and all responsible parties to the extent necessary in order to protect the interest of this borough.”