Building Dunes with 30,000 New Plants at Island Beach State Park

Beachgrass helps to stabilize and build dunes at the park.
Volunteer IBSP dune grass planters
Photo of volunteers courtesy of Patricia Martz.

Thanks to the 335 volunteers who came out on a beautiful December day, 30,000 American beachgrass (Ammophila breviligulata) plants were installed at Island Beach State Park last Saturday.

Beachgrass is being planted at the park to help build and stabilize dunes. The blades of this plant trap wind-blown sand, and its vigorous growth enables the plant to withstand heavy deposits of sand and grow up through it. Strong underground stems (rhizomes) spread beneath the sand and give rise to many new plants.

Sand dunes provide protection against damaging coastal storms by absorbing wave energy, and they act as major sand storage areas which replenish sand to eroded beaches during storm events.

The Friends of Island Beach State Park sponsored and coordinated the planting, with the assistance of AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassador Justin Linton.  The Barnegat Bay Partnership will be providing funding assistance for another planting planned for the spring of 2019.

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