State officials announced late last week that nearly $5 million in environmental grants would be dedicated to marsh restoration in Brick Township – specifically, within the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge spans much of the bayshore in Ocean County and continues southward to the Atlantic City area, but Brick’s portion is considerably large, including immense swaths of marshland, sedge islands and outcroppings in Barnegat Bay. The area was the focus of numerous cleanup projects after Superstorm Sandy to remove boats and debris from the vast expanse of swampy land.
The funding is part of a $24 million package announced by the state last week under its Natural Climate Solutions grant program.
Now, the $4,997,124 in restoration funds will place more than 120,000 cubic yards of suitable dredged sediment into a series of 13 cells to increase tidal salt marsh elevation, protecting the marsh from drowning. The total area of sediment placement is approximately 95 acres of marsh. The bulk of the marshland in Brick Township is located in an area south of Mantoloking Road, extending for miles from the intersection of Adamston Road, out to the bayfront itself.
State officials said added protective measures will be used to contain placed sediment and strengthen shorelines. The elevated marsh will be planted in areas that did not previously contain vegetation “to ensure recolonization of vegetation occurs to ultimately restore the health of the marsh.”
Additional marshland in Ocean County will be preserved as part of a second $4,998,109 outlay from the state which will restore about 33 acres of tidelands at Popular Point, located south of Route 72 in Stafford Township, opposite Ship Bottom. A third local project will see $1.8 million dedicated to restoring salt marshes in Waretown near the Lighthouse Center by improving hydrology and water flow.