Bird Study, conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, habitat management, Restoring Habitat, Science, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, sustainable land use, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

Thompson’s Beach Restoration is Underway


Earlier this month, this season’s restoration work began at Thompson’s Beach. Wickberg Marine restored the road out to the Beach. The road once served the community of Thompson’s Beach, a small bayside enclave of Maurice River Township. After a series of punishing storms, the State DEP and Maurice River Township gained control of the small overwashed beach community and removed the houses. Two years ago, the DEP’s Bureau of Coastal Engineering and NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife removed much of the rubble that residents once used to protect their homes from angry Delaware Bay storms, but left a significant portion at the request of the township. They hoped it would provide protection for the tenuous road that led out to the beach.

Unfortunately, the Bay swept crabs onto the rubble as they tried to come ashore in May to breed.  Many were helplessly stranded as the tide receded, most dying from desiccation or gull predation. The ReTURN the Favor project, which aims to rescue trapped crabs, saved many last year, but cleaning up the rubble would be better.  Moreover, the beach sand was so shallow crabs could not dig nests and lay eggs.

Our restoration project at Thompson’s Beach aims to fix these problems and support the interests of the community. We will not only fix the road out to the beach and ensure its protection, but we will also remove the killing rubble and place 40,000 cubic yards of sand weighing over 9 million pounds.

That much sand demands a reliable road. After years of neglect it needs to be raised eight inches to resist tidal flooding. Our method was to first lay a fabric called marsh mat on the existing unstable road. Then, we dumped crushed concrete on top and started moving dump trucks laden with sand to the beach.

thompsons beach rubble

Thompson’s Beach Rubble

thompsons beach rubble removed

Thompson’s Beach Rubble Removed

laying out marsh mat

placing sand over marsh mat

Placing Sand over Marsh Mat