Sandy Hook — In one New Jersey town, discarded Christmas trees will find new life protecting the shoreline.
As part of an American Littoral Society project, trees will be collected and recycled in Point Pleasant to help protect the shoreline of a tidal creek running past+.
Trees can be dropped off at a donation site in town: the field behind the parking lot at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (708 NJ-88, Point Pleasant, NJ). The location will be marked. Also, Point Pleasant borough residents can leave their trees curbside for normal DPW pickup.
“We want people to think of the restoration at Slade Dale as a holiday miracle that they helped create,” said Capt. Al Modjeski, Habitat Restoration Director for the American Littoral Society. “Rather than mulching or burning trees, the community came together to provide inexpensive materials that will not only restore a shoreline but help protect the surrounding area.”
Located in Point Pleasant, Slade Dale Sanctuary is a 12.93-acre preserve situated along the North Branch of Beaverdam Creek, a tidal tributary that flows into the larger Metedeconk River and, eventually, Barnegat Bay.
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 New Jersey.
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.
Unfortunately, Slade Dale Sanctuary is disappearing. The shoreline has eroded approximately 300 feet since 1930, and almost all low marsh habitat has been lost.
In addition, the current vegetation composition of the site shows evidence of marsh retreat: dead or dying upland tree species in current wetland areas suggest these locations were previously upland and have since become inundated as the shoreline eroded.
In September 2018, the American Littoral Society oversaw the installation of over 300 wooden pilings. These pilings are the first steps in the construction of branch box breakwaters that will prevent further erosion, foster sedimentation, and restore low marsh habitat at Slade Dale.
In Spring 2019, Christmas trees donated by local residents will be placed between the pilings to complete the breakwaters. Multiple Christmas tree vanes will also be in-stalled.
“This project is a model for other living shoreline efforts, puts our sustainability principles into action, and reflects wonderful partnerships,” said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society.
Project Partners Include: Princeton Hydro LLC, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and the Borough of Point Pleasant
Funding Provided By: the Rotary Club of Point Pleasant Borough, The Nature Conservancy, Borough of Point Pleasant, NJ Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership.
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