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Living Shoreline Oyster Reef Restoration to Improve Water Quality and Resiliency along Forked River Beach, Lacey Township - Building and Applying Past Successes in Delaware Bay to Better Barnegat Bay

Project Purpose:

The goals and objectives of this habitat restoration project are to:

  • Restore, enhance, and protect 2,600 linear feet of shoreline with installation of 7 double-rowed, intertidal

    living shoreline oyster reefs

  • Improve resiliency for adjacent communities and reduce shoreline erosion rate through wave attenuation

  • Improve local water quality and decrease turbidity with introduction of up to 48M oyster larvae

  • Improve ecological health of the Bay and its designated use for aquatic life

  • Incorporate and expand current outreach programs and raise public and community awareness

Brief Description:

Barnegat Bay is an important cultural, economic, and ecological area, and its improved resiliency and health is essential. Historically, the Bay contained 12,000 acres of oyster beds that filtered contaminants from the water column, and expansive, vegetated shorelines and sandy beaches that protected bay residents, prevented erosion of marsh habitat, and helped buffer stormwater runoff and sheeting. Today, almost the entire historic oyster habitat (exposed shell) has disappeared and shorelines have become heavily eroded causing submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) habitat to be degraded due to siltation and increased turbidity, anthropogenic stresses, and episodic, extreme weather events such as Hurricane Sandy. Our project location, located along the eastern shore of Lacey Township at Forked River Beach, was selected because it has experienced severe shoreline erosion, diminished water quality, and loss of habitat. It is a prime example of the issues Bay-wide and its restoration can act as a model for future Bay-wide restoration and prioritization. For this project we will create approximately 2,800 linear feet of double-rowed oyster reef to protect 2,600 linear feet of shoreline, set the reefs with up to 48M oyster larvae, expand our existing outreach program, and engage the community. We will perform quarterly stakeholder meetings and monitoring.

Resource Values/Project Outputs:

1) Improved resiliency to adjacent communities at the Bayside Beach Club and Forked River with creation of living shoreline, shelled oyster reefs,

2) Reduced shoreline erosion rates through wave attenuation and better habitat for establishment of eel grass, 3) Improvements to local water quality and decreases in turbidity,
4) Improvements to the ecological health of the Bay and its designated use for aquatic life, and
5) Provide an innovative restoration model that can be duplicated or modified Bay-wide.

Additionally, our pre- and post-monitoring program, will further allow us to better evaluate and identify adaptive management strategies and potential locations for future projects in Barnegat Bay.

Cost/Budget: $1,000,000.00

Schedule: Project is 90% complete. Will add live shell to inshore reef end of June through August as shell is set.


Permit Status: Received. Funding needed due to supply chain disruption and rising cost of fuel.

List of Partners:

  • American Littoral Society

  • Stockton University Coastal Research Center

  • Wildlife Restoration Partnerships LLC

  • Barnegat Bay Partnership

  • Weggle Engineering


  • Citizen Racecar

  • Parsons Mariculture LLC

  • ReClam the Bay

  • Atlantic Capes Fisheries

  • Lacey Township

  • Bayside Beach Club

  • NJDEP Bureau of Shellfisheries

  • Pinelands Nursery

  • Albert Marine

What is requested from the CWRP/Contribution: $16,000.00 for

shell and signage.


Point of Contact:

Capt. Al Modjeski,


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