Project funders and partners, the US Fish and and Wildlife Service, recently published a press release about the Wreck Pond project. You can download and read the release by clicking on the link below.
This week at Wreck Pond, construction crews continue to install the coffer dam. It will be a double containment coffer dam with one side for the box culvert and one side that will be filled with sand for equipment to drive out on. Not a small feat working against the strength of the ocean. Things seem to be moving along on schedule so far and in the next week or two the next pieces of culvert should be installed. It will take an estimated 9-12 weeks to finish construction.
Dredging will start up again in mid-October. This time about 17,000 cubic yards of sediment will be removed and placed on the beach. This will complete the removal of the originally proposed 37,000 cubic yards.
Monitoring continues in search of juvenile alewife, however none were found during Wednesday's sampling this week. Catch included Atlantic silversides, white mullet, striped killifish, mummichog, sheepshead minnows, and one rather large bay anchovy. Seeing the bay anchovy is a good sign since in previous years, we have seen the young-of-year alewife mixed in with the schools of bay anchovy. Though we haven’t seen large schools of bay anchovy yet, perhaps this single bay anchovy sighting will lead to the movement of larger schools and subsequently the emigration of young alewife from Wreck Pond back into the Atlantic Ocean.
We also continued our bird monitoring and sea beach amaranth monitoring. Jay A., from Sea Girt Public Works alerted us that there was another sea beach amaranth plant. Identification was confirmed and the plant was fenced in. Check back next week for another update!
Construction crews at Wreck Pond have begun installing the steel sheeting of the coffer dam. That dam will allow work to resume on the fish passage.
Construction of the 600-foot culvert was halted on April 8 due to seasonal restrictions that protect beach-nesting birds. Monitors found a colony of least terns and a pair of American oystercatchers. Least terns are a state-listed endangered species and American oystercatchers are a species of concern.
The appearance of nesting shorebirds marked a return to normalcy in that area.
“This is the first time least tern have nested on site since Hurricane Sandy in 2012,” said Katie Conrad, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. According to Conrad, the least tern colony had a peak size of 26 adults and successfully fledged 11 young. The American oystercatchers attempted two nests, but both nests were most likely killed by foxes before hatching.
Remobilization for construction and installation of the remaining twelve sections of box culvert began on Tuesday, September 6. All equipment is expected to be onsite and installation of the coffer dam will begin in the middle of next week.
Surveys for red knots, juvenile herring and seabeach amaranth continued on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Although there were no red knots observed and no herring found, more than 500 sheepshead minnows and 300+ juvenile Atlantic menhaden (also commonly known as peanut bunker) were collected along with striped killifish, mummichog, winter flounder, bay anchovies, and Atlantic silversides.
If you are interested in joining us for our fish survey next Friday, September 16 please email Zack@littoralsociety.org for more information and to sign up!
We also gave a tour of the restoration project to visitors from US Fish and Wildlife Service Regional office, removed the five in-stream antenna arrays (haven’t recorded a fish detection in over a month), and seined the lower pond looking for juvenile alewife. We didn't find any alewife but caught several pipefish and many sheepshead minnows. With Labor Day passed, we’re preparing for installation of the remaining 140 feet of fish passage at Wreck Pond. Preparations include fencing off a 10-foot buffer around six seabeach amaranth plants, a federally endangered species.
Construction begins on Tuesday, Sept. 6 so check back next week for another update.