Point Pleasant Borough and Brick Township High School: First to Get Certified in Barnegat Bay Stewardship Program

The Barnegat Bay Partnership is pleased to announce that Brick Township High School and Point Pleasant Borough are the first school and municipality to become certified in the Jersey-Friendly Yards (JFY) Stewardship Program. Developed through a grant from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, the new program guides residents, schools, and municipalities in land use practices for a healthy environment and recognizes them as protectors of the Barnegat Bay.

Most of the water pollution in the bay is coming from the land areas that drain into it. Participants in the Jersey-Friendly Yards Stewardship Certification Program use land stewardship practices that protect water and provide valuable habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife.

Brick Township High School is the first school to become certified in the JFY School Stewardship Program. Students in teacher Gary Paxton’s STEM class learned about the soil, water, and wildlife resources of the Barnegat Bay watershed, then used what they learned to design and install a green infrastructure project in the school’s central courtyard area. Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and other elements to restore some of the natural processes for managing stormwater at a site.

Stormwater runoff from the school’s roof had been eroding soil down a slope onto the courtyard sidewalk. The STEM students designed a project to capture some of the roof runoff in a rain barrel and increase infiltration of the rest into the soil. They used a perforated pipe to distribute the water across a wider area and reduce the velocity of the flow, and installed railroad ties to create terraces on the slope to further slow the flow of water. Next, the students planted the 400 square-foot project area with native species to stabilize the slope and increase movement of water into the soil.

The beginning stages of aa

As an added bonus, the native plants they selected support pollinators, birds, and other wildlife.  “The rain garden is a focal point in our courtyard and will continue to educate staff and students who pass by about the importance of native plants, along with restoring and preserving pollinator and wildlife habitats,” said Mr. Paxton.

The Borough of Point Pleasant is the first town to become certified in the  JFY Municipal Stewardship Program. Assisted by the Point Pleasant Garden Club, the Borough designed and installed a beautiful 600 square-foot pollinator garden at the municipal complex. Community volunteers planted over 160 individual plants of 30 different pollinator-friendly species, mostly native to the region. Named “Pollinator Point,” the garden supports the Borough’s designation as a Monarch City USA. The native plants at Pollinator Point not only provide habitat for Monarchs and other pollinators, they also help to stabilize soil and increase stormwater infiltration.

Pollinator Point’s highly visible downtown location across from Community Park makes it ideal for community access and education. A brick walkway winds through the garden, making it accessible to all. Signage encourages visitors to learn more about the native plants in the garden and their benefits to both water quality and wildlife.

A winter seed sowing workshop, “name the garden” contest, and sponsorships of plants, are just a few of the ways the Borough and Garden Club engaged people in the garden project. In August, the entire community was invited to a Grand Opening celebration at Pollinator Point, which included a ribbon cutting, speeches, activities for children, and walks through the new garden.

The Barnegat Bay Partnership and Ocean County Soil Conservation District provided the Borough with technical advice on the project. Kelly Noto, a member of the Garden Club who helped to coordinate the garden project, said, “The experts from the Partnership and Soil District provided us with practical, best practice-based advice as Pollinator Point changed from vision to reality.”

More than 60 individuals have been certified in the JFY Resident Stewardship Program. Residents of the Barnegat Bay watershed can submit an online checklist about the landscaping practices they use in their own yards, and are automatically certified if they receive a passing score.

Visit jerseyyards.org/certification-program/ to learn more about the Jersey-Friendly Yards Stewardship Program.  For answers to questions, email Bailey Sanders, Stewardship Specialist, at bsanders@ocean.edu.

Photo Credit: Lisa Mazzuca (Right)

One of 28 National Estuary Programs, the Barnegat Bay Partnership comprises federal, state, county, and municipal agencies, academic institutions, and business and community organizations all working together to help protect and restore the water quality and living resources of the Barnegat Bay watershed. The BBP received a grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to develop the Jersey-Friendly Yards Stewardship Program for the Barnegat Bay watershed.

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