WATCH NBC10 News: Experts want boaters to slow down to help save critical parts of the Jersey Shore from vanishing

In the race to save critical parts of the Jersey Shore from disappearing, there’s a call for boaters to slow down and keep their distance. Waves from boat wakes, storm surges and wind are threatening back bay marshes which help protect shore towns from flooding that’s become more frequent due to climate change. There’s an alarming sight just off Long Beach Island where an island that broke off from a marsh in recent years continues to erode. Oyster and clam shells will soon be used to fortify the island. Data from a new tide gauge installed nearby will help shape long-term strategies to combat the accelerating rate of sea level rise that’s only expected to become faster in the future. NBC10’s Ted Greenberg has the details. WATCH ON NBC10 NEWS

The SandPaper: Bay Islands Restoration Project Gets Additional Grant Funding

By Juliet Kaszas-Hoch Long Beach Township learned earlier this winter that it had been approved for a $772,300 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to design a final stage nature-based restoration plan for two bay islands off the municipality. “The project will facilitate permit applications, readiness for implementation and long-term monitoring to elevate habitat and reduce flood risk for the adjacent community,” as noted in the National Coastal Resilience Fund grant slate. The township and other project partners will also contribute financially to the project, which is the next phase of a reparation effort for five bay islands…. Read More Here

Mordecai Island: A Model of Living Shoreline Island Restoration 

Mordecai Island, a marsh island located to the west of the borough of Beach Haven in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, stands out as a model of natural and living shoreline island restoration. More than seventy species, including many at risk avian and non-avian species, use this island for nesting. 

Since the 1970’s, the island has lost over eleven acres due to wave erosion and tidal currents. The severe erosion of the island sparked the action to create the Mordecai Land Trust, established in 2002. The Mordecai Land Trust’s mission is “to protect, preserve, maintain and restore Mordecai Island’s shoreline.” They are fulfilling that mission with their living shoreline projects, made possible through collaboration between the Trust, government agencies, and local nonprofit organizations.  

The Land Trust has been an example of an ongoing restoration effort and has become a resource for practitioners, as evidenced by the following summary of Mordecai projects:  

  • In 2006, coir logs, made of coconut fibers and wooden stakes, were the Land Trust’s first attempt to reinforce the shoreline. They were not successful due to excessive wave stresses.  
  • In 2010, 570 linear feet of Geotubes® were installed near the southwestern side of the island. Geotubes® are fabric tubes filled with sand. A partnership with local nonprofit, ReClam the Bay, aided the project by growing oyster larvae attached to shells, also known as spat-on-shell. These shells were bagged and used as additional breakwater protection for the Geotubes®, with the goal of eventually creating a living shoreline reef. 
  • In 2015, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Philadelphia District, in a pilot project, pumped 25,000 cubic yards of beneficial use dredge sand from the nearby NJ Intracoastal Waterway into a breach on the island, rejoining the island where it had eroded into two separate land masses.  
  • In 2016, the Army Corps placed more beneficial use dredge material on this site. An osprey nesting platform was also rebuilt that year. 
  • In 2017, Spartina alterniflora (saltmarsh cordgrass), Spartina patens (saltmeadow hay) and Distichlis spicata (salt grass) were planted where the dredged material had been deposited the year before. Oyster Castles were also installed along the western shoreline that year and again in 2018. Made of sand, Portland cement, crushed limestone and crushed shell, the structures can be seeded with oyster spat that have the potential to create oyster reefs over a period of years as living oysters accumulate on the structures as living breakwaters.  
  • In 2019, five Wave Attenuation Devices (WAD®s) were placed near the island on the western side. WAD®s absorb wave forces that are generated by winds, currents, and boat wakes. WAD®s also provide substrate for marine creatures to grow.  
Aerial view of oyster castles and WAD®s. Photo by: Mordecai Land Trust


The current concern is accelerated erosion on the northern and western edges of the island. Boat wakes from the Intracoastal Waterway are the biggest threat. In 2024, the Mordecai Island Ecosystem Restoration Project was initiated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to address these issues.  The project is a partnership between USACE, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the Mordecai Land Trust. The proposed rubble mound breakwater will extend approximately 3,000 linear feet on the western side of the island. Then 30,000 cubic yards of dredge material from the adjacent Intercoastal Waterway will be used to fill 11.5 acres behind the breakwater. The breakwater backfill area will also be planted with native vegetation, increasing the habitat of beach nesting birds that use the island.  

Restoration of New Jersey bay islands and marshes can take many forms. Decisions about possible solutions must be made with consideration of wave action, winds, storms, tides, average depth, boat traffic, wildlife use and availability of resources such as funding, sediment availability and oyster shells. Mordecai Land Trust has used these parameters to help make Mordecai Island a model island for living shoreline restoration. For more detailed information about the Mordecai Land Trust projects and history, visit

Mordecai Island’s Major Leap: US Army Corps Advances Breakwater Ecosystem Restoration Project

by Linda Colgan | Jan 20, 2024 


The Mordecai Land Trust has officially announced that the US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) recommended plan for the Mordecai Island Ecosystem Restoration Project has moved out of feasibility and into the Design and Implementation Phase of the project….

Read more here.

2023 NJBII Annual Field Trip

On August 30th, New Jersey Bay Islands Initiative members gathered for our second annual field trip at the Long Beach Twp Marine Field Station. The group shared in learning about the Bay Islands’ plight and how Clam Cove Island has changed over time. Our day was packed with fun as members participated in a relaxing kayak trip and gave informative presentations about the islands in Barnegat Bay!

NJBII partners in group photo: Photo by NJBII Member

Bay islands like Clam Cove Island are integral to our ecosystem, as they have the ability to reduce the amount of wave action affecting residential areas. They also house important local wildlife like terrapins, mussels, marsh grasses, sand crabs, and plenty of other unique species. Ultimately, the degradation of these islands have dire effects on our local ecology and neighbors alike.

Our group also had the amazing opportunity to release terrapin hatchlings born and raised at the Marine Field Station! In New Jersey, terrapins are listed as a species of special concern, so raising and releasing hatchlings at the Station helps ensure survival and boost the local populations. In more ways than one, we were able to connect to the environment during this trip!

Newly hatched terrapins by Project Terrapin: Photo by NJBII Member

Whilst on our kayaks and pontoon boat, we observed the changes that were occurring on Clam Cove Island. Originally not an island, Clam Cove was a peninsula off Long Beach Island in Barnegat Bay. The Cove became an island partly due to years of erosion, creating a shortcut through the peninsula and into the cove, commonly known as “the cut”. The following image shows our group going through “the cut”.

The cut at Clam Cove: Photo by NJBII Member

This also formed because the struggling ecology could not keep up with the changing environment. Species such as the Atlantic Ribbed Mussel and Spartina alterniflora (the prevalent marsh grass) support the island’s structure by creating sticky threads and roots that hold sediment together. Now, they are struggling to survive due to rising temperatures and water levels among other environmental shifts. Factors such as these kill off essential marsh grasses and increase predation on mussels. Without these keystone species like these, the islands begin to fall apart. Witnessing these changes take place may be disheartening, but the NJBII group exists to work towards remedying this issue. Through the hard work of all the individuals observing and researching these islands, we will be able to make a change!

The SandPaper: Bay Islands Restoration Project Full Speed Ahead This Summer

June 25, 2023

By Juliet Kaszas-Hoch
The numerous, often-overlooked small islands within the state’s bays provide crucial storm impact mitigation for developed coastal areas, such as Long Beach Island, as well as habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. About three years ago, the N.J. Bay Islands Initiative – established to protect these important swaths of land – began to assess all the islands in the…

Read more here

The SandPaper: Field Work Underway for Bay Islands Restoration

Funded By Grant Awarded to Long Beach Township
May 01, 2023

By Juliet Kaszas-Hoch
More than 160 bay islands sit in the state’s estuaries, functioning not only as habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife, but as mitigation to reduce storm impact on developed coastal areas such as Long Beach Island. The N.J. Bay Islands Initiative, established to protect and restore these small but significant swaths of land, is currently assessing five bay islands …

Read more here

The SandPaper: Angela Andersen Details Bay Islands Initiative at Feb. 4 Science Saturday

February 02, 2023

By Juliet Kaszas-Hoch
Long Beach Township Sustainability Director Angela Andersen is at the helm for the Feb. 4 installment of Science Saturday, presented weekly – and virtually – by the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences. All Science Saturday talks run 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on Zoom. Andersen, who also serves as manager for the LBT Marine Education Field …

Read more here