Tricia’s Story

DSC09273.jpgby Tyhler

Climate change and sea level rise has been a great concern for the New Jersey community for many years now. Ever since Superstorm Sandy, the need to address our coastal area has become more important. Tricia McAvoy, a Sandy survivor, believes that it is imperative for communities across New Jersey to come together and fix our coastal region.

Tricia lived in Brick, New Jersey until her wooden bulkheads gave way during the hurricane. This caused her to relocate to father’s house in Point Pleasant. Her house in Brick has needed to be fixed seven times since Superstorm Sandy, due to the town’s inability to allow Tricia to replace the wooden bulkheads that lined a lagoon on her property. The town told Tricia that her property did not require bulkheads and did not allow her to replace her broken ones. Not allowing the replacement caused constant flooding of her property from the lagoon, and also caused the foundation of the house to become unstable. Finally, after many appeals to the town, Tricia was approved to replace her old and broken wooden bulkheads.

To replace these bulkheads was itself a difficult process because it required getting a barge into her lagoon. This replacement wouldn’t be hard in other circumstances, but in Tricia’s case the lagoon was filled with all of the sand and silt from the storm. What this meant was that people were needed to dig a way into her lagoon so that the barge could work on replacing the bulkheads. Then once they were done working, they needed to dig their way back out because the tides would bring in more silt and sand. After this long and annoying process of trying to have her bulkheads replaced, she finally got new vinyl ones that helped stabilize her property. With the installation of the new bulkheads, construction crews are now able to continue working on the house that she so dearly loves.

Now Tricia believes that it is extremely important for communities across New Jersey to be prepared for another storm like Sandy. Many of the bulkheads that are along the Brick waterline are deteriorating. Tricia thinks that it is in the community’s best interest to have these older bulkheads replaced with newer emplacements, which can better resist the water. The bulkheads should be reinforced with living plants in the water, which can help to grip dirt and mitigate the effects of storms. Tricia also thinks that the seawall that stretched from Mantoloking to Bayhead is ineffective: the waves can just go over the wall because there is no natural barrier to hold the ocean back from the wall.

In addition to all of this, Tricia sees it as very important for people to switch over to renewable energy so that they can help reduce the effects of climate change. The installation of wind farms off the coast of New Jersey is something that could benefit the economy of the area by providing jobs, as well as reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. It is important for people in New Jersey to realize the effects that climate change is having on our community. We need to do something to stop it.

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