Urgent action is needed to address the most critical vulnerabilities at the mouth of the Maurice River. We address two priority actions:
- The first is final planning for a hybrid living shoreline breakwater designed to minimize further erosion of a peninsula on the west side of the river that serves as a primary wave shelter for the adjacent port.
- The second is to plan the protection and restoration of the second most vulnerable location on the east side of the river. Here we will use similar hybrid solutions to protect impoundments from exposure to the open bay and to create sheltered water to allow for wetland restoration.
Our team’s experience gained during our resilience projects in other parts of the bay will provide a head start in planning and eventual execution. We will use the planning grant to develop engineered designs, material scoping, construction methods, permits and cost estimates. At the end of this grant we will be able to begin construction with implementation funding
We propose to protect the mouth of the Maurice River, located in the heart of NJ’s Delaware Bay shoreline and the most important river in NJ apart from the Delaware itself. Erosion and unsuccessful resiliency projects have dogged the river and the surrounding bayshore for decades holding residents and the region’s economy hostage to the river’s untamed inlet. Despite the uncertainty, economic opportunities have grown recently, to include a new aquaculture facility and increased capacity at a ship repair/ building company, adding to 20 other businesses that depend on a stable river inlet in this otherwise economically depressed area. Our project will add stability to the inlet by creating hybrid oyster reef breakwaters that will protect and shelter shorelines allowing us to restore eroding shoreline to productive beach and marsh using techniques already proven by our team.
We will improve the ecological value and improve community resiliency of the area by introducing oyster reefs that once lined the bayshore. New beaches will add breeding habitat for horseshoe crabs and foraging habitat for red knots. The rate of erosion on the river mouth and the adjacent bayshore are among the highest in the Atlantic region of North America and fixing the problem would provide a replicable model for solving important resiliency problem throughout the Atlantic Coast. This is an important outcome of our team’s commitment to adaptive management and science-based approach on which it depends.