By Kathy Buchan and Nan Simon – Happy New Year everyone. The physical work at Jackson Woods has slowed down due to the cold weather, but our efforts to think and plan ahead are in full swing. We will have 3 new unique benches to install come spring donated by Friends and supporters of Jackson Woods.
We are currently working on an Audubon Society grant to create a Wood Duck habitat near the pond. The presence of Wood Ducks in freshwater wetlands is an indication of a healthy ecosystem. We have planted the remaining donated daffodils and look forward to the Spring thaw when every park entrance will be adorned in hues of yellow.
We have plans with Stan Dziuba, Long Branch DPW, and Jake Jones, Long Branch Office of Community and Economic Development, for trail signs to be installed as well as a map displayed in our newly installed message center to help visitors navigate the park. A brochure will be available at the message center with a trail map and an explanation of the historical significance of each trail name. A Jackson Woods logo was created by a Long Branch student. We plan on using the logo on t-shirts and sweatshirts .
Another major endeavor we need help with is finding a way to oxygenate the spring fed pond and control the algae and bacteria buildup. During the fall we redug the old ditch which helped with overflow and cut back some of the invasive phragmites destroying the health of the wetland habitat. The pond needs periodic maintenance. The vegetation around the pond will reduce pollutants, however, overgrowth can be destructive. The banks need to be better landscaped and invasive species further reduced.
A wetlands pond can naturally improve water quality, provide flood protection, shoreline erosion control, as well as opportunities for recreation and aesthetic appreciation. We need your help and expertise. It takes many creative minds and concerned citizens to find solutions to unique problems. We have reached out to Laura Newman, township engineer, Joe Barris, Monmouth County planning, the New Jersey Watershed Ambassador, and others for assistance. Air pumps or aerators will circulate the pond water, reducing algae growth and oxygenating the pond, preventing stagnation, mosquito breeding and debris buildup that often accompanies low oxygen levels. These are all within DEP guidelines. Grants are available.
If you can help in any way please reach out. Our goal is to get an expert to do a pond evaluation and create a restoration plan we can begin to implement. I have no doubt that there is someone reading this who knows a way or someone we can reach out to SAVE OUR POND.
Stay safe, healthy and warm. Together we make things happen.
Friends of Jackson Woods
908 581 7833