Rutgers Cooperative Extension has been working with Woodbridge Township on the development of an Open Space and Floodplain Restoration Plan. According to a 2016 Northeast Regional Extension Conference presentation, the plan will improve resilience to storms, protect wildlife, and provide recreational opportunities for Woodbridge residents.
Many Woodbridge homes were built close to sea-level. These homes are vulnerable to storm surge, which caused significant flooding during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. The Watson-Crampton Neighborhood (pictured), which is surrounded by three different waterways, is especially vulnerable to flooding. Woodbridge Township worked to target flooding by encouraging residents with properties in the floodplain to relocate. The township purchased almost 200 properties through the Blue Acres program.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension is using the open space acquired in the Watson-Crampton Neighborhood to create a floodplain habitat restoration zone. The Extension will convert lawn and turf into a variety of habitats including woodland, meadow and marsh. The restoration zone will provide recreational opportunities like hiking, bird watching, and kayaking.
Although Watson-Crampton contains the largest contiguous space purchased through Blue Acres, the Extension is also providing design recommendations for acquired properties in Colonia, Seawaren, Avenel, and Port Reading. The Extension is designing a variety of smaller community spaces, or pocket parks, on empty lots in areas where most residents did not relocate.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided funding for the Open Space and Floodplain Restoration Plan.
An interview on the Restoration Plan with Dr. Brooke Maslo from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension is available here.
For more information contact Dr. Maslo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo from “Increasing Storm Resilience in Urban Areas” presentation.