Seaside Park officials are worried that a lack of diversity between plant species could make the borough’s newly-replenished dunes less effective when it comes to protecting the town from future storms.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rebuilt the borough’s dunes to meet their standards, including a 22 foot-high protective barrier with a 200-foot berm. Crossovers are now built on angles so no “funnel” of water can stream on to streets. But some officials have expressed concern that the rear, west slope of the dune may not be as stable as it could, with the governing body passing a resolution calling on a combination of federal and local sources to ensure its quality.
The resolution, the first passed in 2020, states that American Beach Grass, planted across the dune, needs to be continually covered with blowing sand in order to stay healthy. Since that does occur on the east side of the dune but not on the west side of the dune, officials are favoring a plan to add additional plant species to one side.
This condition only exists on the south end of the borough from 10th to 14th avenues and on the north side above M Street. The rest of the west side of the dune is covered with vegetation, including roses, bayberry and goldenrod, from before Superstorm Sandy had an impact on several portions of the dune line. The north and south end of town had its dune washed away by Sandy, leaving only the dune grass planted after replenishment in place.
The borough is planning to purchase plants such as bayberry and Virginia Roses, Montauk Daisies and beach plum, with the cost being offset by donations. Officials envision plantings being done by a combination of public works employees and volunteers.
The resolution calls the borough’s beaches a “unique and invaluable social, economic and aesthetic resource” that needs protection. It ordered borough officials to appropriate funding for plants and begin periodic planting events by the spring of 2020.
The Seaside Park Beautification Committee will accept donations toward the project. Anyone willing to make a donation to offset the cost of the plants can do so by writing a check to the “Seaside Park Beautification Committee” with a note on it that the donation is for the “Seaside Park Dune Planting Project.” Checks should be mailed to Seaside Park Beautification Committee, P.O. Box 84, Seaside Park, NJ 08752.
A community volunteer, Bob Hopkins, has stepped up to help lead the project. Anyone requesting further information can contact Hopkins at at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 973-903-3198.