Our view: Adjust beach replenishment to minimize maritime dead zones

Beach replenishment is an expensive and temporary method of maintaining barrier-island beaches. In the absence of alternatives — and many have been tried in vain — state and local governments and most of society are committed to pumping sand from the ocean floor for the foreseeable future. As the post-Hurricane Sandy rebuilding of all the beaches along New Jersey’s 127-mile Atlantic coast nears completion, an additional potential cost is becoming clear: Replenishment might be creating dead zones on land and at sea. That’s not sufficient reason to stop sand dredging (without a new and better option), but it’s worrisome enough that governments should adjust their practices and possibly even their funding mechanisms. Governments are planning to continue dredging ocean sand onto beaches for at least another half-century, so there is a danger it will create enough dead-zone acreage to adversely affect the richly complex coastal web of life. Recreational and commercial fishers say it already is. Read the op-ed here 08:34