Despite the blustery January weather, state, federal, and local officials came to the beach at Spring Lake, New Jersey on Tuesday, January 19 to help kick-off construction of the fish passage at Wreck Pond.
US Congressman Chris Smith and Commissioner Bob Martin, of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, were among those giving their vocal support to the multi-million dollar restoration project.
In addition to flood mitigation and water quality improvement, the project also aims to help re-establish the pond and surrounding streams as a breeding ground for fish such as American herring. The 600-foot box culvert that will improve water exchange with the ocean will also serve as an improved route for fish to enter and exit the pond.
The first 100 feet of the wood pilings that will hold the first ten sections of the concrete box culvert are in place. The pieces that will be connecting each section are due to arrive Wednesday, Jan. 20, and the first sections are due to be placed early next week.
Spring Lake Mayor Jennifer Naughton began the press event by thanking all of the state, federal, local and non-profit agencies that worked together to make this project a reality. Funding for the project came from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, NJDEP, and Spring Lake Borough.
"Together, we can be very proud of a project with multiple benefits, including reduction in flood risk for those residents who live in and around Wreck Pond, the anticipation of increased fish passage between the ocean and the pond and the gradual return to a healthier pond environment and water quality in one of the most scenic coastal lakes along the Jersey Shore," Naughton said.
Other speakers included NJ Assemblyman David Rible, County Freeholders Tom Arnone and Gary Rich, USFWS Field Supervisor Eric Schrading, and American Littoral Society Executive Director Tim Dillingham.
“This is clearly a cutting-edge and very, very exciting project," Dillingham said. "We're not only restoring and protecting the environment, but we're (also) protecting the communities next to it. This a textbook example of how to live with the Jersey Shore and not simply on it.”
Stay tuned for more news about the project, including the time, date and place for a public lunch & learn in February.
The first pieces of our fish passage have arrived on site at Wreck Pond. Excavation continues as we prepare for installation of the box culvert sections and wood pilings. That installation may begin as early as next week, which happily coincides with our construction kick-off event on Tuesday, January 19.
US Congressman Chris Smith and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin will headline the event. We’re also pleased to be joined by several others who have played crucial roles in this important project, including Spring Lake Mayor Jennifer Naughton, Eric Schrading of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, NJ Assemblyman David Rible, and Monmouth County Freeholders Tom Arnone and Gary Rich.
Please join us to mark the start of this new chapter in the restoration of Wreck Pond. And check back next week for another project update. Or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more frequent updates and project photos.
Project construction at Wreck Pond progresses with the arrival of the first section of box culvert to the site. Prior to the arrival of the first culvert section, workers onsite created a cofferdam on the beach by excavating an area, then driving steel sheeting into the ground. This created a dry enclosure into which the culvert section can be placed. In the upcoming weeks, this process will be repeated as more sections of the culvert are added in stepwise fashion.
We will recognize progress on the restoration project and those who have played a role through support of the project with a press event on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. The event will take place on the boardwalk near the corner of Brown Ave. and Ocean Ave. in Spring Lake. Be sure to check back here for more information on the event and updates on the project. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.