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Wall Christmas Trees May Save Bradley Beach Homes

Discarded trees to be used to build sand dunes

The Christmas tree you threw out after the holiday just may prevent someone from losing their home in the next big storm.

The Wall Department of Public Works normally collects discarded Christmas trees after the holiday season, brings them to the public works yard and then turns them into wood chips.

But not this year, Wall Township Administrator Jeffry Bertrand said.

This year the all trees collected are going to Bradley Beach, where that town is using them to bolster its sand dunes – a practice that officials there have said helped to gird against the worst of Hurricane Sandy’s wrath.

“It’s a really good reuse,’’ Bertrand said. “And, frankly, it saves us money because we don’t have to spend the time turning them into chips.’’

Bradley Beach is in the process of rebuilding its sand dunes after the recent storms discarded Christmas trees are a big part of it.

The town’s 15 x 25-foot sand dunes were originally built in 1996 using 20,000 Christmas trees planted in the sand. Dune grass was then planted atop, which rooted around the buried trees, providing a sturdy seawall, officials said.

 “Just the rooting system weaved itself through the trees which caused almost like a concrete wall for the hurricane that came through,” Richard Bianchi, Jr., Operating Supervisor for Bradley Beach Public Works, in December told WNET, public television in New York.

“A lot of people that live on the beachfront complained about the height of them (the dunes) and what we could do to lower them. Now, we’re getting praise for it,” Bianchi said.

Kelly Barry February 16, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Huh? If the 1996 dunes worked so well - like a concrete wall - that why does this need to be done again? Maybe they don't work as well as we are led to believe.
Dan Yannaccone February 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Considering a 1' thick (I am guessing minimum thickness to withstand the pressure of the Atlantic Ocean) steel reinforced concrete wall is probably in the neighborhood of $300-400 a square foot, has to be around 8' tall and go 4' below ground, and stretch for a mile is a cool $19 million minimum,not including the piles the footing has to sit on. The Christmas trees were free, snow fence is relatively cheap and prevailing winds(free) help build the dunes, then you plant some grass plugs(probably $4-5 a square foot), get something nice to look at and creates natural habitat I think it is easier to secure FEMA funds. Towns like Bradley Beach have become a model for beaches in the northeast because of the protection the dunes provided.

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