After Sandy, Not All Sand Dunes Are Created Equal
By Adam Cole. Feb 13, 2013
When Superstorm Sandy hit Island Beach State Park — one of the last remnants of New Jersey’s barrier island ecosystem — it flattened the dunes, pushing all that sand hundreds of feet inland.
Three months later, the park was still officially closed, but the beach swarmed with volunteers. Members of the local Beach Buggy Association, volunteers from inland New Jersey, and a chilly but enthusiastic group of high school students dragged hundreds of old Christmas trees across the sand and laid them in a snaking line along the beach.
It seems like a bizarre strategy, but it’s an effective one. The trees’ needles and branches will trap windborne sand and serve as a foundation for new dunes.
Katie Barnett, a specialist with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, was the project’s mastermind. After Sandy, she put out a call for Christmas trees on the park service’s Facebook page. The trees came pouring in from all over the state.”
Photo: Alexandra Jones-Twaddell and Malley Chertkov add a Christmas tree to the growing line in Island Beach State Park. The two high-schoolers joined fellow students from the Peddie School to help rebuild dunes that had been flattened by Superstorm Sandy.