The Littoral Society’s annual day to celebrate our members took place on Saturday, June 25 outside our headquarters on Officer’s Row in the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area.
In addition to our members meeting, 2022 Coastal Champions Awards, and Board of Trustees election, there was live music, seining, bird walks, a beach cleanup, oysters from Cape May Salts Oyster Farms, beer from Ross Brewing, and lunch from Local Smoke BBQ!
The Cumberland County Library in Bridgeton, NJ is now home to a rain garden!
Installed in partnership with the American Littoral Society’s Delaware Bayshore Team, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, and Cumberland County Public Works, the rain garden will serve as an example of the use of Green Stormwater Infrastructure to prevent pollution, provide habitat for wildlife, and protect communities against flooding.
Library staff, volunteers and the Society’s Restoration Corps interns came out on Saturday, June 18 to fill the new rain garden with native plants that will help prevent stormwater pollution from flowing into nearby streams, while also providing vital habitat for local insects, birds, and other creatures.
The library’s new rain garden will be a resource for education, relaxation, and nature appreciation in the community.
This work is a part of the South Jersey Landscape Makeover Program funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the William Penn Foundation.
Some special people were recognized as coastal champions at the Littoral Society's Members Day event on Saturday, June 25. Among the honorees were our own Jamaica Bay Guardian Don Riepe, who received the Graham Macmillan Award for his lifetime of work in advocating for and protecting Jamaica Bay, and Cameron Williams, who received the R-Corps Intern Achievement Award for years of work and commitment to the Jamaica Bay Restoration Corps program.
Others awards recipients were:
Read on to learn more about each coastal champion.
Diamondback terrapins are both a keystone species and top predators, making their conservation essential for the health of the ecosystems in which they reside. However, their numbers are dropping rapidly in New York's Jamaica Bay due to high levels of egg predation, drowning in crab and lobster traps, and habitat loss.
The American Littoral Society is working with Hofstra University's Dr. Russell Burke on a study of the diamondback terrapin population in Jamaica Bay, called the Jamaica Bay Terrapin Research Project. Dr. Burke has been coordinating volunteer driven research on the Bay's West Pond since 1998. Alexandra Kanonik, director of the Littoral Society's Northeast Chapter, has collaborated on this research since 2008, and together they have published several scientific papers that contribute to the understanding of the diamondback terrapin population in New York City.
Recently, the Littoral Society and R-Corps Interns took part in the first trapping session of the year, with the help of Don Riepe, the Society's Jamaica Bay Guardian. A total of 13 terrapins were carefully and temporarily captured in modified crab traps.
The American Littoral Society is thrilled to welcome a trio of interns to the staff for the summer. Let us introduce you to Emily Zembricki, who will be working with the Fish Tagging program; Julissa Reyes, who will work with the Education Program; and Anna Nowell, our Development intern.
Fish Tagging Intern
Emily is entering her senior year at Stockton University, pursuing a dual Bachelor of Science degree in marine science and sustainability with concentrations in marine biology and policy, respectively, as well as a minor in behavioral neuroscience.
She has great educational outreach and restoration experience from her work since 2018 as part of the Littoral Society’s “Shuck it, Don’t Chuck it!” shell recycling initiative and Habitat Restoration Program.
She lives in Hazlet and enjoys coloring and restoring vintage toys in her free time.
She says: “As a resident of Hazlet, I have lived by the shore my whole life. While my parents pushed me to be a doctor or vet, I always had my heart set on working in the marine science field. I am fascinated by all things relating to the ocean and I want to protect it so I can share my passion for marine critters with future generations to come.”
In early June, a group of 33 employees from the Community Offshore Wind company joined with the American Littoral Society and removed about 900 pounds of marine debris from the shorelines of Spring Creek, Jamaica Bay.
“They were a fun-loving and hard-working group that did a great job of cleaning the beach,” said Don Riepe, the Jamaica Bay Guardian for the Littoral Society. “I thoroughly enjoyed working with them and hope they come back for another volunteer project later this year.”
Community Offshore Wind is a joint venture between RWE Renewables – an international power company - and National Grid Renewables, which is developing offshore wind in the New York Bight.
By William (Bill) Woodroffe 3rd
As a member of the American Littoral Society, William (Bill) Woodroffe Jr. was a tagger. He was also our father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
He specialized in tagging stripers, threading the distinctive yellow tag behind the top fin of nearly 1,000 during his 35 years as a member of the Littoral Society. Almost 50 were re-caught, which resulted in him receiving reports of where and when the fish was hooked again.
As an avid surfcaster, most of his fish were tagged while surfcasting off the Riis Park/Ft. Tilden ocean beaches in Queens, NY. The farthest re-catch was a striper he tagged in December 1997, which was re-caught in Boston in 1999. He was proud of these reports, and they certainly gave us a better understanding of the world of fish, right in our own backyard.
Our own backyard was the shoreline of Brooklyn, Queens, and Jamaica Bay, where he grew up. His first fishing expedition was as a young boy fishing for snappers in Sheepshead Bay. Even when in the Navy during WWII, he managed a little fishing in Alaska and the South Pacific.
They came to lend a hand but left with great memories of the Jersey Shore, Sandy Hook and the work being done by the American Littoral Society.
On Saturday, May 21, AmeriCorps Team Wave 5 (one unit from the partnership between AmeriCorps and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)) joined staff from the Littoral Society and community volunteers for a work day at our Slade Dale Sanctuary restoration site. They helped refill the breakwaters with recycled Christmas trees collected by Lacey Township.
Known as branchbox breakwaters, these wooden structures are designed to control erosion at the site by slowing currents and waves, as well as capture the sediment being carried in the water. The Slade Dale Sanctuary shoreline has eroded approximately 600 over the past century, endangering the protected pine-oak forest, hardwood swamp, and salt marsh, which provides a nursery for fish, a foraging site for other creatures, and storm protection for the surrounding community.
Following the work day, the AmeriCorps team joined Lindsay McNamara, the Littoral Society's Director of Development and resident bird nerd, for a tour of Sandy Hook. Team 5 member Edward Lewis sent us the following note as the group prepared to depart from New Jersey:
May was Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, as we look back on their many accomplishments, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate the work of some of our own AAPI staff. One of our newest hires, Toni Rose Tablante, is a proud first-generation American whose family emigrated from the Philippines.
Growing up, the self-described “over achiever” had to carve her own path in a community where she could’ve set to become a nurse or an engineer. She sought every opportunity to connect with the coast and eventually attended Rutgers University to study marine science. Being the only AAPI student in her major, times were often isolating for Toni Rose. Nevertheless, she persevered and achieved the seemingly impossible goal of entering the marine field.
The Littoral Society’s “Shuck It, Don’t Chuck It!” shell recycling program is making great strides this year. Check out what's happening!
We finally found our oyster transport vehicle to boost our shell collection efforts! At the moment, the truck doesn’t look much different than your average Dodge pickup. But work is underway to make it more on brand. Imagine one of our eye-catching Operation Oyster t-shirts on wheels.
Keep an eye on this space for further truck updates.
While the truck may not be fully tricked out, it's already in shell-hauling service. During the month of May, we recycled 530 pounds of shells, which brought our total since the start of this project to more than 56,000 pounds. That’s 28 tons - over half a million shells - that will be used for Littoral Society restoration projects such as living shorelines and oyster reefs.