Help plant dune grass this Saturday in Island Beach State Park

    A Seaside Park dune in June 2015. (Photo: Justin Auciello/for NewsWorks)

    A Seaside Park dune in June 2015. (Photo: Justin Auciello/for NewsWorks)

    State officials and environmental organizations will welcome hundreds of volunteers to help secure Island Beach State Park’s protective dune system with an extensive dune grass planting this Saturday.

    According to a state Department of Environmental Protection release, park officials expect 300 volunteers — a record attendance — at the event, which is slated from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

    “The annual dune grass planting program is one of the most popular volunteer efforts at Island Beach State Park, bringing together hundreds of volunteers to help strengthen the dune system while making the beach even more beautiful,” said Mark Texel, DEP’s Division of Parks and Forestry Director. 

    By early afternoon, 40,000 American Beachgrass plants will begin settling in the park’s extensive dune system. According to the release, as the grass grows, roots form the core of a dune’s stability, and the blades above the surface trap additional sand and allow the dune to grow higher. 

    “Dune grasses are vital to protecting the island because they hold the dunes together with their web-like root systems,” added Jen Clayton, Island Beach State Park manger. “This year’s effort should be especially successful thanks to the number of American Beachgrass plants secured for Saturday’s event.”

    Participating organizations include AmeriCorps New Jersey, the Barnegat Bay Partnership, the Friends of Island Beach State Park, and others. 

    The current NOAA forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures around 50 degrees. 

    Volunteers will meet at the park’s Ocean Bathing Area 1. To attend, email Lindsey Sigmund, AmeriCorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassador for the Barnegat Bay Watershed, at ambassadorwma13@gmail.com. 

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.