Happy belated New Year! If early indications are to be trusted, it looks like 2017 is going to be an exciting year for the Society and our work at Wreck Pond. With the completion of the fish passage culvert, we now turn our attention towards monitoring Wreck Pond and the larger Wreck Pond Brook Watershed. On top of our migratory fish monitoring that we have conducted for the past three years, we once again will be PIT tagging adult river herring captured during our spring surveys. Further, in the upcoming months, we will be performing stream habitat assessments, benthic macroinvertebrate sampling, and facilitating data collection on water level, salinity, and flow in the pond and new culvert.
Our citizen science program is also rapidly expanding. We have almost 50 volunteers interested in the program. In light of this, we are revamping the program to accomodate the increase in people partcipating. Trainings on the program are being held this month in Spring Lake. If you are interested in the program and would like more information, contact Julie Schumacher at Julie@littoralsociety.org.
If you have visited Wreck Pond recently, you may have noticed white poles at various locations in the pond. These are the 6 monitoring locations for the new Citizen Science Monitoring Program. To become a volunteer monitor, training takes place at Wreck Pond where Julie Schumacher of the American Littoral Society educates participants on the Society, the fish passage restoration project, leads a tour of the six monitoring locations, and supplies each individual with access to monitoring equipment including: a refractometer, thermometer, handbook, data sheets, and bird guides.
There are two components of this program: bird monitoring and water monitoring. Volunteers have a choice between them and are more than welcome to do both. Bird monitoring involves observing the Spring Lake and Sea Girt beach (Wreck Pond is the border between the two towns) and documenting the different species seen. For water monitoring, we ask each volunteer to adopt one of the six locations to record water level, temperature, salinity, and general site observations. We also encourage volunteers to take pictures of species seen and anything interesting observed.
We ask that each volunteer does an assessment at least once every two weeks. Currently, we have 14 volunteers with 10 awaiting training. The Littoral Society will be holding a Monitor's Meeting for all current and interested volunteers sometime in early January. If you are interested or would like more information on this meeting, or the program in general, please contact: Julie Schumacher, email@example.com
All of us at the American Littoral Society would like to wish you a happy and safe holiday season!
The fish passage culvert is open. This act is the culmination of years of hard work by the American Littoral Society and other project partners who have and continue to work towards improving the ecological health of Wreck Pond and the resiliency of the surrounding communities. The culvert was first opened on Wednesday this week. Both the new culvert and the existing pipe will remain fully open while engineers from Leon S. Avakian assess the impact of the culvert on the hydrodynamics and water level of the pond.
To assist in this process, Monmouth University will be installing two water meters in Wreck Pond. These meters will measure water level and salinity in the pond over the next several weeks. The data from these meters will be cross referenced with data collected from the Society’s own water meter, as well as data collected by our citizen science program.
Additionally, next week, the American Littoral Society will be traveling to New Orleans to attend the Restore America’s Estuaries 2016 summit. While there, the Society and US Fish and Wildlife Service will be presenting on our work done at Wreck Pond.
The fish passage culvert construction is complete. Earlier this month, Simpson and Brown attached the final section of culvert completing the 600’ long structure that will serve as a secondary connection between Wreck Pond and the Atlantic Ocean. Completion of this project is the culmination of several years of hard work by the American Littoral Society, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Spring Lake, and Leon S. Avakian LLC., who have all worked tirelessly to improve the ecology of Wreck Pond through better fish passage, improved flood control, and cleaner water.
On November 21, 2016, a press event was held on the beach to mark the completion of the fish passage culvert. Those who spoke at the event included: DEP Deputy Commissioner David Glass, Congressman Chris Smith, Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone, Spring Lake Mayor Jennifer Naughton, USFWS NJ Field Supervisor Eric Shrading, and American Littoral Society Executive Director Tim Dillingham.
"This project combines restoration of an important coastal environment with reducing the vulnerability of the local communities to future hazards," the American Littoral Society's Dillingham said, pictured above. "It successfully demonstrates how restoring the coastal environment can help the shore bounce back from storms while improving daily life for people and wildlife in the surrounding area."
"The Wreck Pond project is a critical project for fish and wildlife in Monmouth County that will not only improve water quality, but will provide important migratory fish passage to the Wreck Pond watershed," the Fish and Wildlife Service's Schrading said. "This project was only possible through the tremendous collaboration of local, state and federal partners, and the important work by the American Littoral Society. It will be really special to see a successful run of river herring in Wreck Pond as a result of this project."
Although this marks the completion of construction at Wreck Pond, dredging will continue until December 31, 2016. Furthermore, monitoring for river herring at Wreck Pond will continue for years to come.
The culvert is moving along as another forty feet of culvert has been installed and back-filled with sand leaving 90 feet remaining! As you can see in the photo below, the culvert sections are staged and ready to go for the next 30 foot section. The crew estimates that they will have the project completed by December 31 if weather permits.
Dredging of the remaining approximately 18,000 cubic yards of sand in Wreck Pond began again and will continue through December 31.
The Wreck Pond Citizen Science Monitoring Program was kicked off this past weekend as well. See below for a copy of the handbook and to learn more about the program. If you are interested in getting involved, email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
While fish sampling continues in search of juvenile river herring, the County is gearing up to begin removing the remaining approximately 18,000 cubic yards of sand/sediment from the Pond. Dredging will continue until December 31.
Although, we haven't found any juvenile river herring since June, we did find Pope Francis at the Spring Lake Italian Festival!
Meanwhile at the inlet, the construction crew has begun driving piles in for the next 40 foot section of culvert. The culvert should be installed in the next week or two, after which they will move on to the next 40 foot section.
Exciting things are happening at Black Creek. Sediment samples were collected last week by Monmouth University for analysis as part of a proposed fish passage project that will include removal of 10,000 cubic yards of sediment and a passageway at the weir at Ocean Road. Stay tuned for results and check back next week for another update.
October 12th was a beautiful day at Wreck Pond and the construction crew is taking advantage of it. They have been working overtime to finish the crane pad and almost completed the coffer dam that will surround the area where the box culvert will be placed.
Black-back sea gulls hanging out on the beach on the gorgeous fall day with the coffer dam and crane in the background.
This week at Wreck Pond - Construction was halted for a few days due to excessive winds and stormy conditions in the ocean (see photos above!). It will begin again once conditions are suitable and crews will finish building the coffer dam around the work area. The crane pad is nearly complete. Another week of seining was completed as well with a new catch of a sea horse! No alewife were captured, but hundreds of bay anchovy were captured. In previous years, the migration of juvenile alewife has been correlated with the occurrence of bay anchovy in the Pond. We will try again next Friday, October 14th at 10 AM. Contact Zack Royle at email@example.com if you are interested in joining us for the survey.
We will be holding our first training session for Wreck Pond Citizen Science Monitors on October 22nd from 10 AM - 1 PM! Join us for snacks and beverages and learn how you can participate in this exciting new program and help us gain valuable information and data on water level, temperature, salinity and the presence and abundance of wildlife. Contact Zack at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign up for the training event!
After a stormy week, construction continues at the inlet of Wreck Pond. The crews are working hard to finish a 100' crane pad before continuing to build the coffer dam around where the culvert will be installed. This should take about another week and a half at which point the crew will begin preparing for the installation of several more pieces of box culvert.
Despite the blustery winds and heavy rainfall, Littoral Society biologists attempted to conduct our weekly seining for juvenile river herring. They managed to pull the net through the Spring Lake side of the Pond before the rain became too heavy. The catch included Atlantic silversides, sheepshead minnows, mummichog, and Northern kingfish. Seining will continue this Wednesday, October 5 at the inlet.
Love science? Love being outdoors? We are looking for dedicated individuals to join our Wreck Pond Citizen Science Monitoring Program. As a Wreck Pond Citizen Science Monitor, you will help us gain valuable information on the effects of the new box culvert on Pond water level, salinity and temperature. Bird monitors will help track long-term use of the Pond and the surrounding areas by shorebirds including endangered Piping Plover and threatened Red Knots. The information collected in this program will ultimately assist us in determining the overall success of the project.
All volunteers will be trained in the proper monitoring protocols and provided with necessary equipment. If you are interested in becoming a Wreck Pond Citizen Science Monitor or would like more information, please contact project biologist Zack Royle at email@example.com.