Over the past two months, work has been underway in Neptune Township, NJ to build a living shoreline that will help protect the surrounding community from storms and waves, reduce flooding impacts, and create habitat for wildlife.
The project along South Riverside Drive in the Shark River Hills section of the township, will include placement of special "mattresses" and coir logs to stabilize the shoreline, raising the beach and building a dune to provide added resiliency during storm or high-tide events, adding native plants, and long-term monitoring of the site.
The initial phase of the project is nearing completion. It has involved creating a marsh sill with Tensar mattresses - large, mesh polymer bags that are filled with rock and shell that have been placed in the Shark River just beyond a dilapidated wooden bulkhead; lining nearly 2,000 feet of shoreline with coir "logs" made from coconut husks; pouring tons of sand onto the beach; and building a small dune with walkways for the public to access the beach.
The mattresses will form an almost contiguous row along the shoreline with gaps present every 100 feet to ensure that marine animals can move freely from water to shoreline.The sill will help reduce the force of waves before they hit the shoreline shoreline and help keep sand on the beach.
In the Spring, community members and other volunteers will be invited to plant the dunes with native grasses.
Once completed, the Littoral Society - with the help of interested community members - will monitor the project for five years.
If you are interested in helping with planting or assisting with monitoring, please email Habitat Restoration Manager Zack Royle at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, stay tuned for a public meeting in February on project progress and next steps.
This project was primarily driven by local residents who opposed prior project designs that focused on “harder” solutions, such as a large wall or stone revetment. Those designs would have provided flood protection but at the expense of habitat. The living shoreline approach uses dunes and wetlands to prevent flooding while also creating habitat and cleaner water.
In addition to Neptune Township, project partners include Leon S. Avakian Consulting, and Albert Marine Construction. Go to the Littoral Society website for more project information and updates. Funding for the project comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Neptune Township.