It seems Japan is mighty interested in the preservation efforts which restored South Cape May Meadows in 2006.
Representatives of the Americas Region for the Ecosystem Conservation Society of Japan took a tour Thursday, Sept. 19 of South Cape May Meadows led by Dr. Barbara Brummer, State Director for the Nature Conservancy which manages the preserve. Dr. Brummer was contacted by Ken Yoshiya, Executive Director of the Japanese conservation society. He said he learned of the restoration project over the internet as one of the few examples of coastal freshwater restoration. Representatives of this Society planned a visit to the U.S. and wanted to observe and learn more about the restoration project to take home to Japan.
Also present were representatives of the agencies which brought the preservation of the Meadow to fruition. Among them, Bob Allen, Director of Conservation for the Nature Conservancy; Adrianna Zito-Livingston, Preserve Coordinator; Beth Brandreth and Dwight Pakan of the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE); and Christopher Constantino of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Coastal Engineering (NJ DEP) participated in the tour.
According to Dr. Brummer, this project was 20 years in the making and started as an ecological restoration of a wetland which had been degraded by disruption of the hydrology from coastal development and breaching of the coastline from several major storms over the last few decades. The project which had two distinct components has returned the freshwater wetland into a productive habitat for migrating birds and increased the natural biodiversity significantly by removing the majority of the invasive grass known as “phragmities.”
Restoration of the freshwater stream that travels from Lake Lily to Cape Island Creek through the Meadows was done by the ACOE in cooperation with the NJ DEP and The Nature Conservancy but only after the beach was nourished and replenished by the ACOE to protect the inland wetland and provide additional beach area for our endangered beach nesting birds like the piping plover.
“In addition to the ecological restoration of an important coastal freshwater wetland for wildlife,” said Dr. Brummer in an email following the tour. “the project also resulted in an increased ability of this area to absorb excess water from storms for people. This improvement has resulted in lowering the flooding potential for adjacent Cape May and Cape May Point. We are continuing to monitor the restoration and maintain the balance of benefits for people and nature.”