Wells Fargo volunteers participate in 2-day event to clean up and restore N.J.’s coastline

In recognition of Earth Month, coastal conservation nonprofit the American Littoral Society welcomed volunteers on April 19 and 20 from Wells Fargo’s New Jersey offices for a two-day volunteer event to help clean up coastal areas along the Raritan Bayshore and the northern Jersey Shore coastline.

The two-day event aligns with Wells Fargo’s companywide sustainability efforts that strive to support the transition to a resilient, equitable and sustainable future.

Wells Fargo employees volunteered alongside leaders from the Littoral Society to plant dune grass and clean up debris along Kent Avenue Beach in Bradley Beach and 2nd Street Beach in Perth Amboy. In total, volunteers assisted with the planting of 6,000 dune grass plugs across both beaches.

According to the American Littoral Society, maintaining a dune system is crucial for protecting beaches and nearby communities during storms. Dune grass helps hold dunes in place by weaving intricate, interconnected root systems, which can extend more than three feet beneath the sand and expand rapidly. It also helps to build dunes by capturing blowing sand, which raises the height of the dune. That, in turn, forces the grass to grow taller, and the cycle begins anew, forming a bulwark against future storms.

“Dunes are a nature-based solution that offer the best protection for coastal communities and ecosystems from coastal storms and erosion, but they require plants suited for their needs,” Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, said. “Which is why we are so grateful for volunteers like the employees from Wells Fargo for joining us and helping us get these plants in the sand. Best of all, once beach grass is established, it makes dunes self-sustaining — as long as people treat it with proper respect.”

“As a company with a longtime presence in the Garden State, we understand the importance the Jersey Shore plays in our communities, the environment and our local economy,” Wanda Saez, senior vice president, social impact and community relations for New Jersey, at Wells Fargo, said. “Our employees work and live here, so this work is important to them, as we all hope future generations can enjoy this important natural treasure. As the ‘Bank of Doing,’ Wells Fargo is proud to support the American Littoral Society’s efforts to keep New Jersey’s beaches pristine and beautiful.”

In 2021, the company announced it would deploy $500 billion to fund sustainable finance, including products and services related to clean technologies, social development and resiliency. On a philanthropic level, the Wells Fargo Foundation supported approximately $19.5 million in climate-aligned programming in 2022, which help to bring the benefits of its sustainability approach to historically underrepresented communities. Locally, Wells Fargo has provided a total of $14,000 to support this year’s Earth Month volunteer event with the American Littoral Society.