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
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.
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)
- 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 ()
- The Health Benefits of Small Parks and Green Spaces (April 2017, Kathleen Wolf, National Recreation and Park Association)
- Building Relationships to Foster Engagement in the Environment (July 2017, Rosie Santos, National Recreation and Park Association)
- Lakewood, Colorado, Commits to Park and Play for All (November 2017, Jayna Lang, National Recreation and Park Association)
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.
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.
- Spatial and Temporal Variations in Debris Accumulation and Composition on an Estuarine Shoreline, Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey, USA (Thornton and Jackson, NJIT, 1998)
- The Mobility of Beach Fill in Front of a Seawall on an Estuarine Shoreline, Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey, USA (Jackson, NJIT, 1994)
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.
SELECTED CURRENT ALERTS
- Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) (Agrilus planipennis) is consuming ash trees in about forty US states, including New Jersey.
- Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is in eastern Pennsylvania and is expected in New Jersey.
- 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.
RESOURCES ON INVASIVE SPECIES IN NEW JERSEY
- Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS)
- NJ Invasive Species Strike Team (NJISST)
- NJ Invasive Species – Map Them and Zap Them, NJISST
- NJ Strategic Management Plan for Invasive Species (2007), NJ Invasive Species Council
- Aquatic Invasive Species, NJ DEP Division of Fish & Wildlife
- New Jersey Weed Gallery, Rutgers Ag Experiment Station
- Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers
- Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (List of NJ ANS Experts)