Update By: Dr. Larry Niles, LJ Niles Associates LLC
Both construction teams work hard to get done as soon as is possible. Both are on track to be done late this week, in good time for the horseshoe crab spawn and shorebird stopover. Last Thursday, the water temperature hovers around 9 degrees C (48 degrees F) which is slightly lower than previous years. The crab spawn is in part triggered by a water temperature of 14-15 degree C (59 degrees F) so the spawn is still a few weeks away. Last year, it began in the first week of May.
Getting done on time depends on no emerging problems, and working out on the marsh and bay presents hazards. Last Wednesday, a 40 ton dump truck went off of the road and it took nearly the entire crew to prevent him from turning over and to get him back on the road.
Last Tuesday, we hosted the team from Division of Land Use Regulation responsible for the state permitting of restoration projects. The team led by Joanna Davis and Colleen Keller must navigate the issues naturally presented by restoration construction. On one hand, the restoration achieves NJDEP goals for the creation of fish and wildlife habitat and deserves special attention. On the other, construction of any kind must consider the state’s complex web of interests from coastal planning to historic preservation. As testament to their good work, our project permits were approved leaving us sufficient time to complete the work before the crab spawn in early May.
Our oyster reef has now withstood several days of significant on shore winds and accompanied waves. Every single reef block remains intact.
Dr. Larry Niles has led efforts to protect red knots and horseshoe crabs for over 30 years.