New Jersey Route 52 Causeway Replacement Project

Davey Resource Group prepared several surveys, assessments, and all the necessary permitting for the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to ensure any potential environmental impacts made by a causeway replacement project were mitigated.

Project Narrative:

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reconstructed 2.8 miles of NJ Route 52 from Route 9 in Somers Point, Atlantic County, to Bay Avenue in Ocean City, Cape May County. The causeway spans Great Egg Harbor Bay, which crosses Rainbow Island, Garretts Island, and Elbow Island, and traverses four waterways including Ship Channel, Elbow Thorofare, Rainbow Channel, and Beach Thorofare. Beach Thorofare is part of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICWW). The reconstructed bridge consisted of two bridges that has two high fixed spans over Ship Channel and Beach Thorofare (Intracoastal Waterway) and a touchdown on Rainbow Island. The project also included dredging of channels, construction of multiple fishing piers and public access ways, construction of a visitor center and ecological enhancements and mitigation activities.

Moving Reconstruction Forward Without Disrupting Nature

Davey Resource Group (DRG) prepared the Natural Ecosystem Technical Study, and the ecology sections of the NEPA EIS and obtained all State and Federal environmental permits for the project. The study included a comprehensive inventory of fish and shellfish resources as well as an inventory of endangered and threatened species habitat. Analysis of potential impacts and mitigation measures to these resources was performed. DRG also performed a wetland delineation for the entire project area, analyzed impacts to wetlands and obtained a Jurisdictional Determination from the USACE. DRG prepared and submitted a combined NJDEP Coastal Permit Application including Coastal Wetlands, CAFRA and Waterfront Development Permits, 401 Water Quality Certification and Coastal Zone Consistency Determination, which included a Statement of Compliance with the NJ Coastal Zone Management Rule and EIS. DRG also prepared and submitted an application for USACE Section 404/10 Individual Permit and performed an Essential Fish Habitat Assessment as required by the National Marine Fisheries Service. During the course of the project, DRG identified two active rookeries used by two NJ State threatened bird species: black-crowned and yellow-crowned night herons. The design was modified to protect the rookeries. DRG performed pre-construction, construction and post construction rookery surveys.

DRG provided environmental construction monitoring services for all ecological enhancements and tidal wetland mitigation activities including the ecological restoration of Malibu Beach for critical wildlife habitat mitigation, approximately 4,500 linear feet of shoreline stabilization along coastal islands using living shoreline techniques, restoration of temporarily impacted natural areas, and approximately 4-acres of tidal marsh creation. DRG provided all construction oversight during rubble removal, invasive species control, earthwork, stabilization, hydroseeding, waterfowl exclusion fence installation and planting. We also provided design revisions as needed during the construction period. Shoreline habitat enhancement provided expanded waterfowl foraging and potential nesting area for diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). The Malibu Beach project resulted in the enhancement of over 1.5 acres of an upland /wetland complex and provided a more suitable public access within the 28.5 acres of the Malibu Beach property. The project has been constructed. Five year post-construction monitoring was performed to ensure compliance with NJDEP and US Army Corps of Engineers wetland mitigation standards. Replanting of selective areas of tidal marsh was performed by DRG as part of the 5-year maintenance requirements.

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