Sachuest Beach

Middletown Initiates Erosion Study to Preserve Second and Third Beaches Amid Rising Sea Levels

In a proactive move to address the ongoing challenges posed by sea level rise, the Town of Middletown has commissioned an in-depth study focused on preserving Second and Third Beaches. The Town Council approved a $42,000 contract for Coastal Systems Research & Planning and Crossman Engineering to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the beaches and Sachuest Bay area.

The goal of this study is to develop a detailed model of the current conditions affecting the beaches and to formulate a best management plan for their long-term preservation. This initiative is particularly urgent given the observable changes at Second and Third beaches, as highlighted by Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown.

“As we’re all aware and we’ve talked about this over the past few years, there’s quite a bit of changes happening at Second and Third beaches,” said Brown. “Over time, our beaches are getting smaller and it’s becoming more and more evident and identifiable to us.”

Middletown’s beaches attract thousands of residents and visitors each summer, serving as a major draw for the community and bolstering everything from the local economy to real estate, businesses, jobs, quality of life, and mental health.

This summer, the town took immediate action by renting a large dump truck and excavator to clear rocks that had washed ashore during the winter. Despite these efforts and the successful restoration of affected areas by beach staff and Middletown Public Works crews, Brown acknowledged that such maintenance would likely need to continue in the future.

Council President Paul M. Rodrigues emphasized the importance of a strategic and informed approach to managing the beaches. He pointed out the mistakes made by other oceanfront communities that spent substantial amounts of money moving sand, only to see it washed away by subsequent storms. Rodrigues is determined to avoid similar pitfalls.

“We want to be strategic. We want to be smart,” Rodrigues said. “We want to preserve the beach. That beach is the jewel of the town and we want to make sure we take the necessary steps and get guidance from experts who deal with this type of situation.”

Rodrigues also stressed the urgency of addressing the issue, noting that the modeling study is a crucial first step in understanding and planning for the future.

“It’s not just us, it’s all the coastlines of various beaches,” Rodrigues said. “This is important to help us figure out how we’re going to address this issue. This issue is not going away.”




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