On Saturday, April 14, nearly a dozen volunteers turned out to help fix tree tubes and remove invasive Japanese honey suckle at Giampietro Memorial Park in Vineland, NJ.
The maintenance day was hosted by the American Littoral Society and Vineland Environmental Commission as a follow up to work done in the spring of 2019.
Initial work was done with the help of the Vineland Environmental Commission, Vineland High School Environmental Club, and the Littoral Society's South Jersey Restoration Corps. It featured planting of approximately 1,200 trees and shrubs across 4 acres.
That project was designed to help restore what's known as a riparian buffer along Cedar Branch, a tributary to the Menantico Creek, that regularly floods the park. As the trees and shrubs mature, they will help to slow the flow of water and reduce flooding.
On Saturday, April 24, a group of hardy volunteers waded into the cold waters of Beaverdam Creek to place recycled Christmas trees between cribbing, where they will help reverse erosion that has been eating away at the shoreline of Slade Dale Nature Preserve for a century. The structures will help slow water flowing through the eroded area and capture sediment carried by the current.
Located in New Jersey's Point Pleasant Borough, the Sanctuary’s pine-oak forest, hardwood swamp, and salt marsh provide a space of protected wilderness in an otherwise heavily developed coastal area of NJ. The salt marsh at Slade Dale helps protect uplands from flooding during storms. It also provides nursery habitat for fish, and foraging habitat for birds such as osprey, egrets, and bald eagles.
The shoreline has eroded approximately 300 feet since 1930, and almost all low marsh habitat has been lost.
In 2009, Bradley Beach had a parking lot at the northern end of Ocean Avenue. Almost 12 years later, that sandy lot has become a natural habitat for migrating birds and wildlife, serving also to protect Bradley’s residents from ocean surges and hurricane force winds.
With support from the American Littoral Society, Monmouth County and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the site was restored to the type of maritime forest that would have been common along the Jersey shore hundreds of years ago. The restoration project has been recognized by environmental organizations throughout New Jersey as a model for resiliency and coastal protection and has received national recognition and numerous awards.
"The project incorporated innovative design and has provided a nature-based model for future resiliency projects along the east coast," said Capt. Alek Modjeski, Habitat Restoration Director for the American Littoral Society. “Perhaps most important, the area is heavily trafficked by people, and serves as a visible example of how natural systems can benefit shore communities.”
It all started with the support of Bradley Beach’s former Mayor, Julie Schreck, who’s early efforts to engage environmentalists, and to secure county and private funding, has culminated in the completion of “Phase 3” of this decade-long sustainability project. Ms. Schreck was mayor from 2008-2012, and died in 2014.