CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION HOSTS BEACH GRASS PLANTING AND
CLEANUP FOR ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK
(13/P27) TRENTON – As part of the Christie Administration’s continued efforts to restore New Jersey’s state parks, the Department of Environmental Protection will host a beach grass planting and cleanup event at Island Beach State Park on Saturday.
Park staff, park partners and about 100 pre-registered volunteers will plant beach grass at points along the nearly 10-mile shoreline where dune stabilization is needed most. The event will mark the fourth volunteer cleanup and restoration at popular Island Beach State Park since it partially re-opened in January.
“It is a priority for the Christie Administration to have Island Beach State Park fully operational for the peak summer season and to have its dunes restored for the long-term health of the park,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. “All of our state parks are well on their way to recovery and it has been particularly heartening to see the volunteer and partnership efforts that have taken place at Island Beach State Park since Superstorm Sandy.”
Due to popular response, no more volunteers are needed for Saturday’s event. However, volunteers will be needed at future events to be announced at Island Beach State Park.
Island Beach State Park sustained considerable damage when Sandy hit New Jersey on October 29. In addition to the loss of electric and gas utilities and damage to several park structures, dunes were breached at certain beach access paths along the park, leaving piles of sand as tall as seven feet high along portions of Shore Road, the main artery through the park.
Despite the damage, measurable progress has been made. Debris cleanup by park staff, the New Jersey State Park Service and volunteer groups has resulted in restoration of habitable beach areas. In January and February, hundreds of volunteers buried Christmas trees to help compromised dune areas. Those trees are now fully covered and building sand.
“These dedicated partnerships and volunteer efforts have been even more invaluable to Island Beach State Park since Superstorm Sandy,” said park manager Ray Bukowski. “With these contributions, we have been able to make significant strides in the park’s recovery.”
About 15,000 bare-root plants, purchased by Friends of Island Beach State Park and donated to the park, will be planted on Saturday. The New Jersey Beach Buggy Association will be transporting volunteers and staff to various points in the park for planting and cleanup, while Barnegat Bay Partnership is also assisting with the event.
While it is a naturally-occurring plant along shorelines, beach grass is often purposely introduced into shore habitats to stabilize sand dunes. The blades of grass help trap windblown sand to promote growth, while the plants’ shallow, net-like roots quickly expand underground. The plants also create a protective habitat for native shoreline animal species.
All of New Jersey’s state parks have fully or partially reopened post-Sandy. But cleanups, repairs and reconstruction work throughout the New Jersey Park System, including the restoration of dunes and jetties at Island Beach State Park, the repair of the iconic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal Building and Hudson River bulkhead at Liberty State Park, and the clearing of trails at many of the state’s northern parks, continue.
“We have made great strides and the hard work that remains throughout our park system is being expedited so all of our residents can fully enjoy what our parks have to offer,” said Richard Boornazian, Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources.
For specific information on current conditions at Island Beach State Park, please visit:
MEDIA: If you have interest in covering the event, please RSVP with the DEP Press Office at numbers above by Thursday, March 28. Or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All state offices will be closed on Friday, March 29, in observance of Good Friday.