After the Storm: Beach Erosion January 2016

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Cape May, NJ – Once again, Cape May was spared from major damage by the recent monster nor’easter. But the wind gusts, immense waves and record high tides from the January storm left their mark on Cove Beach.

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During the ferocious storm, ocean waves scoured the sand dunes at the Cove, taking away sand and carving new creeks through the dune and beach.

Some areas of dune grass were washed away in the process, leaving steep, cliff-like edges along the serpentine creeks.

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In the event of another Nor’easter, these new creek beds could let more seawater further erode the dunes.

In fact, new ponds had started forming Sunday, between what’s left of the outer sand dune and the  larger man-made dune that protects the South Cape May Meadows and Sunset Boulevard.  cove-lo
The beach erosion left isolated parts of the outer dune still standing, complete with tufts of dune grass.

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Beach walkers noticed the changes right away.

Cove Beach is a favored walking beach because it is flat and wide open, and extends from 2nd Avenue to Cape May Point State Park.

Where once you could stroll easily from one end of the Cove to the other, now there are minor cliffs and creeks to negotiate, depending on the tide. Who knows how long this new shape will last.


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Because it is a cove, each time a nor’easter slams South Jersey, the sands at Cove Beach shift.

With two to three months left of the winter storm season, beach erosion could take more even more of a toll,  if and when another storm hits.

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About Paul Kerlinger

Paul Kerlinger, Ph.D. is a scientist, author and nationally known expert on bird migration. He's done extensive studies on hawks, Snowy Owls and neotropical song birds. Kerlinger is the former director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, His books include How Birds Migrate and Flight Strategies of Migrating Hawks. He's an ardent fly fisherman and organic vegetable gardener.