Sylvan Lake
Living Shoreline,
Avon/Bradley Beach, NJ

Ecosystem Restoration & Mitigation
Parks & Open Spaces
Native Plant Communities

March 2019 – July 2019


Project elements

• 1,189 LF of shoreline stabilized and restored
• 9,283 SF of wetland plants
• 277 coastal shrubs
• 30,769 SF of pollinator meadow established
• Installation of 3 road-end & stormwater planted rock bioswales

Project Synopsis

Sylvan Lake is a 17 acre coastal lake connected to the Atlantic Ocean in the Jersey shore towns of Avon and Bradley Beach. Over decades of a highly developed watershed, the lake’s freshwater sources have shifted from natural inputs to stormwater and roadway runoff. Water quality decreased and sedimentation increased especially with the impacts of Superstorm Sandy. Tidal exchange is now cautiously controlled to safeguard against storm tides and rising sea levels. The communities realized a first step to restore Sylvan Lake would be to repair its deteriorated shorelines. Avon went first – with a grant from NJ Department of Environmental Protection and a design from Matrix New World Engineering, SumCo implemented one of the earliest living shoreline projects in New Jersey. The outcome was dramatic and has spawned efforts in both communities to restore the entire lake to build on this living shorelines’ improvements for water quality, habitat and resilience.


During installation of coir matting and logs to prepare the shoreline for planting, SumCo crews observed turtles and fish congregating just outside the in-water silt fence, to get close to wetland plants staged in the waters’ edge – an early indicator of “if you build it they will come” and the remarkable enhancements to follow:
Removal of shoreline rubble, invasive plants (including Japanese knotweed and Phragmites)
Erosion repairs and shoreline stabilization
Reduction of sedimentation and pollution from stormwater inputs from roadways and adjacent landscape sheet-flows with herbaceous and wetland plant uptake of contaminants and settlement of sediment, especially in rock-lined planted serpentine bioswales
Water quality filtration, oxygenation and aquatic habitat improvements with wetland plantings
Newly created wetland bench/littoral shelf providing habitat for fisheries and waterbirds including herons
Upland herbaceous plantings deter Canada Geese and Atlantic Brant while providing songbird habitat
Pollinator meadow and upland plantings provide habitat for butterflies, bees, damsel and dragonflies
Flowering shoreline is spectacular aesthetic improvement for residents of both towns
Improved shoreline and community resilience for flood storage, wave action and future intense storm tides

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