Resourcefulness of Oysters to help Restore the Coast

Nov 14

Resourcefulness of Oysters to help Restore the Coast

On the shoreline of New Jersey, there are effective and creative efforts taking place to ensure sustainability for the long haul. A group of dedicated volunteers began the installation of a first of its kind urban living shoreline.  The living shoreline will consist of an artificial reef using live oysters and concrete structures known as oyster castles to reinforce and protect the coast. The oyster castles will provide the necessary hard surface that oysters can attach and grow on. This project is one of the first times groundbreaking oyster castles will be used in New Jersey.  After Hurricane Sandy, it became clear that coastal well-being should have been a swift priority.  The Living Shoreline Project is intended to provide data to address the impending threats of climate change and shoreline erosion. The project will determine if a living shoreline can protect the surrounding environment, improve water quality, and create aquatic habitat in the urban NY-NJ Harbor Estuary. Interestingly, oysters have a unique capacity to filter and clean water, provide habitat for other sea life and improve resiliency to storm surge and erosion. Oysters once thrived in the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary. However, overharvesting, pollution and sedimentation of reefs resulted in a concentrated population decline which gave way to an unsustainable oyster population in the Harbor area. The good news is that a restoration effort is in progress. Atlantic City, did you know that there will be a community fair for all affected by Hurricane Sandy? The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will provide New Jersey residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy with information about available housing resources during a free Housing Resource Fair on Friday, Nov. 18.  Also, if you are applying for a disaster loan for losses caused by Hurricane Sandy, you’ll need to apply (no later than) December 1st.  Residents in all 21 New Jersey counties are eligible to apply. Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Additionally, homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal...

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Longport: Small Town, Big Plans for Conservation

Feb 24

Longport: Small Town, Big Plans for Conservation

Longport is populated with just under 900 residents.  It is a small, quaint town just a stone’s throw from Atlantic City. This tiny borough is facing high water usage which has recently become a concern making it necessary to seek out a means for conservation of water and reduce stress on an aging water system. Longport is hoping to stave off expensive infrastructure repairs, something that can be a particular burden to municipal water systems that lack the massive capital of big private systems such as New Jersey American Water. After Superstorm Sandy, there were a lot of pipes that needed to be replaced or repaired due to settlement from flooding. Within the last several years, the Water Department has spent $775 million on water system upgrades.  Longport is currently in the process of replacing 8,100 feet of aging water main in Ocean City from 12th to 15th streets. Residents now have a fixed service charge of $13.60 per month. In the Wildwoods, which have shared a single municipal water utility among the four towns since the early 1900s, rates are calculated quarterly and include a fixed service charge of $24.85 per quarter. Conservation efforts expected to be in place this year include increasing the amount of times per year the meter is read (currently once a year), going to even/odd lawn-watering days and regulation of new landscaping. Atlantic City, did you know that a program is underway to protect homeowners from future flood and storm damage called Restore the Shore? Qualifying participants can apply for up to $30,000 in Reimbursement Grants. The program is entitled the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Elevation Program. This is a FEMA-funded reimbursement program designed to assist homeowners in affected communities with the elevation of their primary single-family residences to meet requirements of the flood insurance risk maps and State and local...

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New Jersey’s Use of Cisterns for Sustainability

Nov 12

New Jersey’s Use of Cisterns for Sustainability

After withstanding the devastations of Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey has initiated strong efforts to implement several resiliency practices to help handle the effects of similar future events. Green infrastructure is one of these key practices. It is essential that these methods be utilized as frequently as possible to promote sound storm water management going forward.  This depends on the extent that Green Infrastructure practices are utilized. Traditional, or gray infrastructure, generally focuses on collecting rainwater and sending it downstream to ultimately be discharged into a waterway. Green infrastructure (GI), on the other hand, mimics natural processes utilizing soils and vegetation to manage rainwater where it falls. There are numerous ways in which this can be applied for an environment of sustainability. Such as the use of cisterns. Cisterns store rooftop runoff in a storage tank placed either above or below ground. Cisterns are used for larger rooftops and can capture and store between 100 and 10,000 gallons of runoff. (Rain Barrels are used for smaller roofs and can only hold about 55 gallons.) The stored water can then be used in non-potable manners such as landscape irrigation, rinsing gardening tools and washing the car. Cisterns can also be rerouted for indoor uses such as toilet water. Cisterns can store water which reduces runoff to streams and storm sewers, particularly for small storms. A filter is used to remove any debris and pollutants from the runoff that goes through the gutter before entering the cistern. A gutter guard can also be used to reduce any leaves, dust and debris that may enter the cistern. Consideration should be taken to ensure a stable and appropriate path of water in for overflows since cisterns are not typically designed for large storm events. Underground cisterns may need special permits and the location for overflows may also need...

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