The Littoral Society remains in the holiday spirit thanks to the ongoing collection of used Christmas trees for the Slade Dale restoration project.
Point Pleasant Borough's department of public works (DPW) continues to collect residents' natural trees that have been left by the curb and anyone can drop theirs off at the town's Good Shepherd Lutheran Church through the end of January. In addition to those from the local DPW and individuals, we've also received trees from the Brielle Environmental Commission.
The trees will be collected for use in an ongoing living shoreline project at the Slade Dale Sanctuary, a 15-acre municipal property on Sea Point Drive.
In the spring, trees that have been collected will be put into into branchbox breakwaters, which are wooden structures set in Beaverdam Creek that are designed to control erosion by using trees and brush to slow currents and waves, as well as capture the sediment being carried in the water. The breakwaters to help reduce wave energy which can erode the shoreline and allow the salt marsh at the sanctuary to build back up.
The shoreline at Slade Dale Sanctuary has eroded approximately 600 feet since 1930. The sanctuary’s pine-oak forest, hardwood swamp, and salt marsh provide a space of protected wilderness, providing nursery habitat for fish, and foraging habitat for ospreys, egrets, and bald eagles, among other species.
Sometimes referred to as nature-based, green, or soft shorelines, living shorelines use natural materials such as plants, sand, or rock to stabilize the shoreline, reduce erosion, and provide valuable habitat. They also tend to be far less expensive to construct and maintain than hard structures. The bonus is that living shorelines grow over time.
Because they are designed as a natural solution, the trees in the breakwaters must be replaced periodically. The goal is to create a wider marsh and limit the reach of saltwater that has been affecting nearby trees. Besides providing more space for animals to live and feed, the marsh will also help protect neighboring communities.
Anyone who is not a Point Pleasant resident that would like to contribute to the project can bring their tree to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 708 Route 88 in Point Pleasant. Be sure to remove all ornaments, tinsel and lights before discarding the tree.