The Patcong Creek is about to get an upgrade! A stretch of the creek, just south of Hamilton Ave boat ramp in Linwood, has been suffering from erosion. Linwood Environmental Commission got together with the Nature Conservancy to make a plan to restore the creek in the best possible way—a Living Shoreline.
Patcong Creek Foundation has been recruited to assist with the project by providing volunteers. And, we will educate the public about the project, as there are so many benefits to a living shoreline that the general public and local students should know about.
The living shoreline is now funded thanks to two grants totaling $25,000. The City of Linwood received a check in the amount of $10,000 from Sustainable Jersey. Atlantic City Electric granted $15,000 to the Nature Conservancy. Atlantic City Electric is a company that values community service, so they will also be providing volunteers to help with the construction of the living shoreline.
So, what is a living shoreline? It is a natural alternative to using a manmade, hard structure to minimize erosion caused from wave action (sometimes natural, sometimes from boat and jet-ski wakes). Basically, it is a salt marsh—initially guided by human intervention.
The first step to creating a Living Shoreline is to use coir biologs made of coconut fiber to trap sediment. According to John Truscinski of the Nature Conservancy, the biologs are placed down first, and secured with netted bags of shells. The logs are left for about a month to allow the sediment to build up. Then the salt marsh grasses are planted to create a new salt marsh habitat.
The biologs themselves are biodegradable, so will decompose after a year or so. The shells don't quickly decompose, but since they are native to salt marshes, that's no big deal. Also, they actually provide a substrate for mussels to attach—thus creating yet another habitat.
Living Shorelines work because they absorb wave energy, rather than reflect it like hard structures (ex. bulkheads) do. Bulkheads and similar structures reflect wave energy which causes scouring of sediment offshore, and can cause unnatural deepening.
Living Shorelines are also sustainable. The plants that absorb the wave energy also trap sediments. And as sediments are trapped, they collect in the salt marsh, thus raising its elevation, creating greater protection against erosion.
Living Shoreline salt marsh benefits are numerous. They include:
* Living Shorelines Academy
> Gandy's Beach/Money Island, Downe, NJ
Money Island and Gandy's Beach Model for the State
Statewide Living Shoreline Projects
AC Press Article about Living Shorelines protecting people and critters
Patcong Creek Foundation
Patcong Creek Foundation is a 501c3 Nonprofit corporation committed to protecting the Patcong Creek. Caring for the creek is important because it is a precious natural resource. Keep up to date with our stewardship through our blog.