Sea Bright: This past weekend over 150 volunteers from Kean University, Shore Regional High School, Surfers Environmental Alliance, Interact, and the Surf Rider Foundation worked together to plant over 40,000 American Beach Grass plants on two separate Sea Bright beaches. Ernst and Young donated the majority of the dune grass while other local gardening clubs in northern Monmouth County also provided the grasses as well.
In addition to planting 40,000 plants, volunteers installed shims in front of the dune grass as well. The process of planting shims four inches deep and 18 inches apart helps to collect sand. This process is known as biomimicry. Over time as sand deposits begin to gather the shims are moved upward to collect more sand. This process of using shims models the dune building process on Cape Cod, where dune construction became necessary to stop beach erosion.
In addition to planting 40,000 new dune grasses, the volunteers were able to insert approximately 30,000 shims during the dune replenishing process. Together, these actions will help to build strong dunes for years to come.
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Organizer, Heather Bedenko, stressed the importance of this project and thanked all of the volunteers who came out to make this event possible. However, she wanted to let everyone know that dune grass is a very fragile species and that any disturbance or disruption will kill the grass. It is important to note that unlike traditional grasses, American Beach Grass grows both vertically and horizontally. For the grass to take a strong hold it is imperative to stay off the dunes and only cross at the new “up and over” sites being constructed along the beach.
Heather and her team arranges two sessions for dune grass planting, one in December and one in March. For more information about the Sea Bright dune grass project you can reach Heather Bedenko directly at email@example.com.