An environmental advocacy group and government agencies will soon be building a passageway between a Monmouth County pond and the Atlantic Ocean, which they say will offer a multitude of benefits.
The American Littoral Society, a Highlands-based organization, will help construct the secondary passageway that will allow herring to travel between the an 84-acre tidally influenced Wreck Pond, which straddles Spring Lake and Sea Girt, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Crews will build a 600-foot long concrete box culvert just north of the existing 800-foot long pipe.
“Anglers love striped bass. Striped bass love to eat river herring. And river herring are having a hard time these days,” said American Littoral Society’s Helen Henderson. “Herring live in salt water, but reproduce in fresh water. Wreck Pond is a spawning ground for fishes that feed striped bass.”
The primary objective is to improve fish passage, although the culvert is expected to improve water quality in the pond, said Captain Al Modjeski, the organization’s Habitat Restoration Program Director.
According to the organization, the passageway will increase the tidal flow, give herring a better chance to spawn, and reduce flooding of surrounding areas. Scientists will compare pre- and post-construction fish surveys to determine the impact.
“Wreck Pond is dying, and we’re trying to make it better,” Modjeski said. “It deserves a little CPR.”
Henderson added that the American Littoral Society “cares about clean water, healthy fish, and happy anglers.”
The organization expects construction to begin after Labor Day and continue for about four months.
This $3.85 million project is funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service through a post-Hurricane Sandy Resiliency Grant, the Borough of Spring Lake, and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Other project partners include the County of Monmouth, the Borough of Sea Girt, and the US Army Corps of Engineers.