Ecology is the study of the environment and is interdisciplinary in nature.

“There are many practical applications of ecology in conservation biology, wetland management, natural resource management (agroecology, agriculture, forestry, agroforestry, fisheries), city planning (urban ecology), community health, economics, basic and applied science, and human social interaction (human ecology). For example, the Circles of Sustainability approach treats ecology as more than the environment ‘out there’. It is not treated as separate from humans. Organisms (including humans) and resources compose ecosystems which, in turn, maintain biophysical feedback mechanisms that moderate processes acting on living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components of the planet. Ecosystems sustain life-supporting functions and produce natural capital like biomass production (food, fuel, fiber, and medicine), the regulation of climate, global biogeochemical cycles, water filtration, soil formation, erosion control, flood protection, and many other natural features of scientific, historical, economic, or intrinsic value.” — Wikipedia



Recreational Fishing

Much fishing in the Township is done at Cliffwood Beach on Raritan Bay, where striped bass are commonly sought using clams and bunker as bait. Some fishing and crabbing is also done in Matawan Creek and at Lake Matawan and Lake Lefferts.

Recreational Boating

Matawan Creek between Aberdeen, Matawan and Keyport, as well as the Raritan Bay off Cliffwood Beach, are popular spots for boating. For example, the Jersey Shore Sea Kayak Association has identified Cliffwood Beach as a site for sea kayaking. Marinas and boat launches in nearby Keyport and Morgan provide access for motorboats and sailboats.

Recreational Hiking and Cycling

The Henry Hudson Trail provides over 20 miles and 100 acres of trails for hiking and cycling in several non-contiguous sections. The northern section begins at Lloyd Road & Clark Street. Park in the Oakshades Park lot and travel eastward through Keyport to Atlantic Highlands and beyond. The southern section begins at Church Street. Park at the Broad Street Municipal Building and travel southward past Wilson Avenue and Texas Road to Marlboro. An additional section runs to Freehold. Connecting the sections through Aberdeen and Matawan is the ultimate goal; for now, carefully walking or biking the roads between the two trail heads is the only option for those wishing to follow the entire trail. The trail is part of the Monmouth County Park System and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. (See also Trail Link)

Municipal Parks

  • Andover – Andover Lane (Basketball court, playground and volleyball)
  • Cambridge – Cambridge Drive and Lloyd Road (Basketball court, playground and baseball field)
  • Deerfield – Deerfield Lane (Playground)
  • Fordham – Fordham Drive (Basketball court and playground)
  • Guisti – Mytle Street, Archie Street, and Maxwell Street (Basketball court, playground, 2 baseball fields, and football field)
  • Harrison – Harrison Avenue (Half basketball court and playground)
  • Ivyhill – Ivyhill Drive, Idlebrook Lane and Infield Lane (Playground)
  • Midland – Marjorie Street and Jersey Avenue (2 basketball courts, playground, and softball field)
  • Northland – Northland Lane (Basketball court and playground)
  • Oakshades – Lloyd Road, Gerard Avenue, and Wooley Street (Basketball court, playground and lighted softball field)
  • Overlook – Overlook Circle and Prospect (Playground)
  • Ross Field – Cliffwood Avenue and Lenox Road (Basketball court, playground, 2 softball fields, and soccer field)
  • Storyland – Woodman Place (Basketball court, playground, and softball field)
  • Veterans Memorial – Lakeshore Drive and Beachfront (2 basketball courts, spray park, gazebo,  baseball field, osprey platform, bathrooms, and parking lot)
  • Vincent Vinci – Gaston Street ()
Recreation Resources:


Horseshoe Crabs

Cliffwood Beach is a major spawning site of the horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus). Bayshore Regional Watershed Council has been conducting periodic horseshoe monitoring and tagging along the Raritan Bay since 2009. Their 2017 end of year report stated that over half of the crabs (1162/2077) monitored along the bay in May and June were observed at Cliffwood Beach. The report recommended, in part, “There needs to be greater protection for known mating sites in Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay, including Cliffwood Beach in Aberdeen Township. Horseshoe crabs congregate along estuarine beaches seasonally to spawn, which make them especially vulnerable to exploitation, either intentionally or not, by local fishermen or beachgoers. A need exists for a public education campaign to inform people not to disturb spawning horseshoe crabs and to alert local residents about the importance of horseshoe crabs in local estuarine ecology.”


Aberdeen has excellent habitat for osprey (Handion haliaetus), a fish-eating raptor sometimes called the fish hawk. Several platforms are positioned around the Township to encourage re-establishment of the species after DDT devastated the population.

See a sightings map of the region at eBird. Records of the past ten years appear as

Soil Erosion and Sediment Control

Construction in the Township must meet the pertinent requirements of  the NJ Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act, including stormwater management during and after land disturbance and recent additions concerning soil restoration to contend with soil compaction. See also Standards for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control in New Jersey.

The Township, like many New Jersey bayshore and oceanfront municipalities, has faced soil erosion issues resulting from wave action and other causes. The NJ Institute of Technology has written at least two reports on variations in the Cliffwood Beach shoreline, copies of which can be purchased at the links below.

Invasive Species

As per Executive Order 13112 an “invasive species” is defined as a species that is: 1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration, and 2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

Invasive species can be plants, animals, and other organisms (e.g., microbes). Human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions. For more information, see our Vectors and Pathways section.

(Source: Invasive Species Definition Clarification and Guidance White Paper (2006), Submitted by the Definitions Subcommittee of the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC), Approved by ISAC Apr 27, 2006.


•Prey on species (Example… Northern snakehead)
•Wreak havoc when they become entangled in machinery (Example… Kudzu)
•Inhibit the growth of crops & native forest species (Example… Garlic mustard)
•Change soil chemistry & reduce its stability & productivity (Example… Autumn olive)
•Form dense mats on ponds, clog slow-moving irrigation channels & reduce sunlight in the water column (Example… Water chestnut)
•Destroy plants from the roots up (Example…Phytophthora root rot)


•Tolerate a variety of habitat conditions
• Grow and reproduce rapidly
•Compete aggressively for resources (food, water, nesting sites)
•Lack natural enemies or pests in the new ecosystem


  • European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is a bird that occupies the nesting sites of native species, displacing various desirable song birds.
  • Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) has made its way from the Delaware River up the Raritan River since 2009 and is now threatening the entire state of New Jersey.
  • Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) is an aggressive vine that can kills trees. It’s been spotted (October 2017) along the Kavanaugh Trail in the Cliffwood Beach section.
  • Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is another aggressive vine. This one can be seen along Lakeshore Drive near the Kavanaugh Trail.