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Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Army Corps Plans to Uplift Marsh in Middle

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to repurpose dredge sediments from the Intracoastal Waterway to fortify and uplift low marsh areas at Scotch Bonnet Island.

From Middle Township

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced a plan to repurpose dredge sediments from the Intracoastal Waterway to fortify and uplift low marsh areas at Scotch Bonnet Island (next to the Wetlands Institute). The project is a collaboration between the Institute’s scientists, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NJ DEP, and several universities. Researchers are monitoring these marshes and designing innovative strategies to reduce the impact of sea level rise and maintain the health and vibrancy of the salt marsh.

“We welcome this good news for the future of our vital salt marshes,” Middle Township Mayor Chris Leusner said. “One need only look at a map of our town to realize that nearly a third of our seventy-two square miles is encompassed by this critical ecosystem. The salty smell of the wetlands means home to us.”

According to the Wetlands Institute’s website, tidal marshes flourish on the brink – normal daily flooding brings life, but repetitive deep flooding systematically damages them. When the sea level rises faster than the marsh surface can build, marshes fail, degrading into mudflats or open water.

“This marsh has fallen below the suitable ranges for low marsh,” said Steven Rochette, Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Philadelphia District, in an email to Township officials. “The project builds on other similar successful projects that we’ve constructed as part of our ongoing Seven Mile Island Innovation Lab.”

In the fall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will move forward to dredge a portion of the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway behind Seven Mile Island. These dredged sediments will be utilized to uplift the salt marsh by spraying a thin layer of sediment in low-lying areas. Work is expected to begin in early October.

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