North Wildwood Faces Erosion Crisis: Dunes Vanish, Lifeguard Headquarters at Risk


North Wildwood, NEW JERSEY - A week of relentless rough waves and unusually high tides has eroded the remaining dunes at 15th Avenue in North Wildwood, placing the city's lifeguard headquarters in imminent danger.

Mayor Patrick Rosenello expressed his concern, stating, "There’s zero dune," after inspecting the beachfront. He promptly returned to assess the situation once more.

While the high surf from Tropical Storm Ophelia in late September was a contributing factor, the mayor emphasized that persistent northeast winds at 15 to 20 miles per hour, combined with a full moon last Friday, exacerbated the issue. As a result, the dune at 15th Avenue, directly in front of the beach patrol, has been completely eroded.

To counter this threat, North Wildwood is in the final stages of installing a $400,000 steel bulkhead around the beach patrol building. The construction is slated for completion by the end of the week.

In late September, the state granted authorization for the steel wall as part of an emergency permit, in anticipation of the peak hurricane season. During this period, severe storms, heavy rainfall, and surging tides have historically led to coastal flooding, posing risks to nearby homes and infrastructure.

Mayor Rosenello stressed the importance of the bulkhead, stating, "If we don’t have a bulkhead installed where there is dune breach and you have a major storm, you’re going to have inundation into the town." He further noted that this could result in severe property damage.

Town officials estimate that the cost of rebuilding the beach patrol headquarters in the event of its loss would exceed $2 million. This underscores the critical need to safeguard this vital infrastructure.