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      Jean Sullivan
      Communications Director
      732-473-3100 x 3060

    Page Title| Happenings News Stories  2010


    March 25, 2010

    Mates Students and Jake’s Branch Park Partner On New Project
    Jean Sullivian, March 25, 2010

    Caption: MATES students enter the pond at Jake’s Branch Park in Berkeley Township to install the county’s first Bio-Haven. Photo provided by John Wnek, MATES Supervisor


    OCEAN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY- Students from the Ocean County Vocational Technical School’s Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) donned wetsuits and waders as they installed the county’s first Bio-Havens® in the ponds at Ocean County’s Jake’s Branch Park in Berkeley Township. The Bio-Havens are small man-made islands which are designed with two objectives: to improve water quality by controlling the growth of excess algae and create habitat for native wildlife.

    The Bio-Havens consist of a base structure comprised of recycled plastics. The base is covered with a soil substrate and sod. The structure has pre-formed holes where students planted seven varieties of native plants. The structure was then positioned in the pond and secured with cinder blocks and a lead which allows for variable water levels.

    The Bio-Havens at Jake’s Branch Park are part of a pilot program managed by the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation (OCPR). OCPR Recreation Leader Joe Pirozek, of Toms River, procured the Bio-Havens through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in Washington, DC. Mr. Pirozek explained that there are a number of ponds and retention basins within the park system that are impacted by pollutants and nutrient run-off from surrounding land use. As the plants on the Bio-Havens grow, they will increase the filtration of pollutants and, ideally, improve water quality.

    Six juniors from MATES worked on the planting and installation of the islands. They also gathered data for baseline measurements of initial water quality. They students will monitor the project throughout the spring and summer months. Research will be conducted on both water quality and plant growth. If it is found that the Bio-Havens have a positive effect on water quality and wildlife habitat the program will be expanded to other county parks.

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