Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dead Christmas trees: Recycling gifts from a thousand strangers that helped a NJ community rebuild its dunes

When Hurricane Sandy sent its battering and devastating storm surges through scores of New Jersey shore towns just before Halloween last October, the tiny private community of Midway Beach, comprising mostly older, one-floor cottages, emerged with only minor damage.

Was it a miracle?  A miracle of advance planning, perhaps. Because community leaders in the South Seaside Park enclave had spent years of time and effort arming their beachfront with an impressive stretch of protective sand dunes, up to 120 feet wide and 20 feet high.

In Sandy's wake, 50 feet of the natural battlement had been swept away. Midway Beach Homeowners Association leaders knew they had to act to rebuild their dunes quickly before another storm might arrive.

What they did was to utilize a state DEP-approved but unorthodox method of capturing natural sand drifts and anchoring them in position for a spring planting of dune grass.




They used social media sites like Facebook to put out an APB to New Jersey towns and residents asking them to donate their used Christmas trees when the upcoming holiday season had ended.

What happened next was so successful--and so inspiring--that the Association of New Jersey Recyclers invited Dominick Solazzo, a Midway Beach association trustee, to the organization's recent Annual Forum where he provided details about the community's tree-recycling operation.








Dominick stayed behind after the event to tell us more. We think you'll enjoy his video above.

Related environmental news stories:
What a difference a dune makes and how to build one
Sea Isle City gets $9.2 million for beach and dune work
Three shore towns moving to seize dune easements
After Sandy, only a lucky few getting buyouts

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