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CBS2 Exclusive: Army Corps Project Looks To Protect Jersey Shore From Future Storms

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, a new line of defense is being formed off the Jersey Shore to better protect it from the next big storm.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported, a day out on the water is meant for fun, fishing and sun. And to keep it that way, the Army Corps of Engineers has developed a new game plan to better protect our shorelines and keep our waters safe by building coastal resilience.

"Taking the material out of channel and putting it back either onto marsh or onto beaches where it belongs and where it came from, is a better practice," said Monica Chasten, project manager with the Army Corps.

The Army Corps took Baker out off Long Beach Island into the Barnegat Bay, where waterways are already dredged to clear safe pathways for navigation.

But now, the Corps is using that dredged sand to create green infrastructure, strengthening existing marshes or building new small islands.

"We also look at how those marshes during a storm can provide some buffering to the coastal communities," said Chasten.

The idea is that man-made islands would take the first impact of a future storm, Baker reported.

The efforts have also benefited some local wildlife.

"Shell fisheries off the edges and we also have a lot of birds," said Chasten.

CBS2's Baker saw first hand how important ocean engineering projects and keeping track of depths are after a boater got stuck on a sand bar.

"After Sandy, the hydraulics of the intracoastal and inlets drastically changed," said Chief of Coastal and Topographic Survey Section Jeff Macaleer. "There were areas historically that were problems but are not as bad now. There are issues that were not there before."

If the boater isn't strong enough to push his boat free, it could cost $500 to get towed off the sand bar, Baker reported.

The Army Corps said incorporating natural elements into their projects instead of concrete or metal reduces environmental impact and in the long run, will hopefully reduce storm damage costs to municipalities and homeowners.

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