We need your help! We've got a big job lined up for Saturday that is impossible to do alone.
On August 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the American Littoral Society will hold the Fifth Annual Shell-A-Bration at Cooks Beach, near Cape May, NJ (Map). There will be food, fun, and family friendly activities, along our biggest reef-building project yet.
This week 80 pallets of whelk shell arrived and, with the help of Cape May County's generously loaned Mudd-Ox Ultra-Terrain vehicle, those were transported to the reef building site
On Saturday, volunteers and staff will turn those bags of shell into three brand new reefs that will help protect the beach from storms, erosion and rising sea levels (stuff environmentalists refer to as adaptation and resiliency), while also providing habitat (places to live) for fish and other marine creatures.
The Shell-a-Bration will be a picnic-style event, so please bring blankets and chairs. In order to ensure we provide adequate food and drink, we ask that attendees please RSVP.
The event is rain or shine. Please dress appropriately for the weather and wear closed-toed shoes that can get wet. Gloves will be provided.
The reef projects are part of work the Littoral Society began after Hurricane Sandy. After restoring beaches at a number of Delaware Bayshore locations, the Society began building near-shore reefs at many of those sites. Oyster reef living shorelines have already been established at South Reeds Beach, Moores Beach, Dyers Cove, and Thompsons Beach.
In addition to preventing sand loss from wind-driven waves and and creating a natural and protective living space for numerous other aquatic creatures, such as oysters, the reefs also make calmer waters for spawning horseshoe crabs headed for the beach.
The crabs are critical to the area economy. Crab eggs feed migratory shorebirds, like the Red Knot, a federally-listed endangered species which stops in New Jersey each spring on its long journey from South America to the Arctic Circle. The Red Knot and other shorebirds help bring $35 million in tourist dollars to New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore region each year.
The Shell-A-Bration will be followed in November with a Veterans Day on the Bay celebration when one of the previously established reefs is dedicated to military veterans.
For more information contact Capt. Al Modjeski, Habitat Restoration Program Director for the American Littoral Society. Call him at 732-291-0055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you there!
Photo Courtesy of Marian McSherry