New Jersey Resources celebrates Earth Day with $75K pledge to support coastal resilience

New Jersey Resources, the parent company of Wall-based New Jersey Natural Gas, announced a $75,000 donation to Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute to support the Clam Cove Living Shoreline Pilot Project — and the stabilization and restoration of coastal wetlands in the Barnegat Bay watershed.

“In recognition of Earth Day, New Jersey Resources is pleased to support the Clam Cove Living Shoreline project and the vital work of Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute, as well as its project partners,” Steve Westhoven, CEO and president of New Jersey Resources, said. “Protecting New Jersey’s coastal ecosystems directly aligns with our efforts to enhance environmental stewardship through our Coastal Climate Initiative.”

The Clam Cove Living Shoreline Pilot Project was identified as a priority by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The primary goals of the pilot project are to stabilize a widening breach in the cove and reduce the loss of marshland. Additionally, the planned work will support carbon sequestration through the installation of a natural oyster reef breakwater. These efforts will help provide increased resiliency to the Long Beach Township community and improve habitats for fish, birds and other species.

“The township has been focused on restoration work at Clam Cove since we acquired the parcel and are happy to have the support from Monmouth’s UCI and NJR for this project. We have been working closely with UCI and other partners on this site for a couple of years and look forward to putting our recycled shell to good work protecting the shorelines of our critical bay islands,” Long Beach Township Mayor Joseph Mancini said.

The UCI is one of Monmouth University’s Centers of Distinction. It advances research, education and collaboration in the development and implementation of science-based programs and policies that support the stewardship of healthy and resilient coastal ecosystems and communities. Once complete, the living shoreline will also serve as an outdoor laboratory for local educators, scientists and students to monitor and study oyster recruitment, sediment accretion and species diversity, as well as erosion and wave energy.

“The lessons learned from this work will help form strategies for restoring sensitive tidal marsh areas throughout our coastal bays, which we’ve been losing at a rapid rate over the last 50 years,” UCI Director Tony MacDonald said. “The project will also serve as an excellent opportunity for Monmouth students to gain hands-on experience doing scientific field work and community engagement. We are very grateful for NJR’s commitment to sustainability and support for the UCI’s work with Long Beach Township, which will make the community more resilient to sea level rise and climate change.”