New Jersey Starts $8.2 Million Pilot Project to Restore Salt Marshes with Dredge Materials

New Jersey Starts $8.2 Million Pilot Project to Restore Salt Marshes with Dredge Materials

New Jersey has recently started $8.2 million pilot project with an aim to use clean dredge materials to restore salt marshes and give protection to coastal communities in future storms. The project is not only intended to restore the marshes, but also to save money and solve other problems.

According to state officials, the first part of the project started in Cape May County last week. Bigger restoration work will be done in Avalon and near Fortescue in Cumberland County next year.

The project received help from the state and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, environmental and academic groups.

In June, the U. S. Department of Interior gave the state Department of Environmental Protection $3.4 million through a Hurricane Sandy coastal resiliency grant program for the project. The Department of Transportation is providing about $2 million toward the effort and $2.9 million is being given by the Army Corps.

To restore wetlands, this project has been set up for the first time wherein state has used a process called as thin-layer placement. The project includes placing various inches of clean dredge material to increase the level of the marshes.

The project has the capability to protect communities against future storms and will also provide a way to handle the disposal of dredge materials.

"It could protect the marshes, protect the communities, and solve some of the dredging channel problems", said Tim Dillingham, the Littoral Society's executive director.

About 90 acres of marsh will be restored and a $3 million will be generated in savings as the sediment will not have to be transported to a disposal site.

Metthea Yepsen, coastal restoration manager for the New Jersey Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and a project partner, said the dredging process and restoration will incur lesser cost.?

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