April 2022
In 2022 we celebrate the 70th year of the Ocean County Soil Conservation District. We remain committed to building and sustaining a conservation legacy by working with our partners and constituents to conserve, protect and restore our soil, water and natural resources by providing technical assistance, implementing restoration projects, and most importantly through education.
Kean Students Learn about the
NJ Soil Erosion & Sediment Control Standards
Ramon Mejia, Erosion Control Specialist, discusses engineering standards for a stormwater basin with students from Kean University. (Photo by Becky Laboy, Education Outreach Specialist)
Ocean County Soil Conservation District (OCSCD) is a leader in soil conservation and education throughout Ocean County. In March, Ramon Mejia, Erosion Control Specialist with OCSCD, shared his knowledge and expertise with a class of Kean University students taking Principles of Environmental Soil Science at the Kean-Ocean satellite campus, located at Ocean County College. Mr. Mejia introduced the students to the important work of the Ocean County Soil Conservation District - to implement the NJ Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Standards. These Standards consist of 10 Vegetation and 22 Engineering Standards, designed to protect and conserve soil on active construction sites. From stockpiles to silt fences, Mr. Mejia explained the necessity for each of the standards and how they ensure the protection and conservation of our precious soil and water resources. Students viewed engineering plans that included technical representations of the standards. Visits to two sites at two different locations in Ocean County provided an opportunity for the students to see the implementation of these standards as diagramed on the plans.
Silt Fence
The standard for sediment barriers requires the installment of a temporary barrier across, or at the toe of a slope, in order to intercept and detain small amounts of sediment. A silt fence, as shown in this photo, is one type of sediment barrier typically used on construction sites.
The standard for topsoiling entails the distribution of suitable quality soil on areas to be vegetated. As shown in this photo, topsoil is scraped from a project site and stockpiled for later distribution once the buildings are constructed. The topsoil will improve plant establishment and growth, enhance vigorous vegetative cover and reduce maintenance.
Outlet Control Structure
This outlet control structure (OCS) sits within an infiltration basin designed to capture stormwater runoff from the entire property. Outlet control structures are utilized to regulate the timing and amount of discharge leaving a stormwater management system. The OCS allows additional time for the stormwater to infiltrate into the soil and percolate into the ground.
Field Trip opportunities such as this one provides place-based, hands-on experience for the Kean-Ocean students and offers them insight as to possible career choices for their future. OCSCD welcomes collaborations and partnerships to further educate our community about the importance of healthy soil and clean water.
Professional Development for Educators
25th Annual Barnegat Bay
Environmental Educators Roundtable
Example of Spodosol soil in coniferous woodland. Photo credit: John Kelley, Open Soil Science (Creative Commons Open Source License).

Our Roots Run Deep! Celebrating 25 Years of Connections, Culture & Conservation

Join us in celebration of our 25th Annual Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators RoundtableRegistration is open.

The Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable will take place outside at Jakes Branch County Park on April 27. Open House begins at 2:30pm, followed by a light dinner. Workshops begin at 4:15pm, followed by our Keynote Kiss the Ground film. Festivities conclude at 8:30pm with door prizes. Registration required. Cost: $25 per person. Visit our Environmental Educators Roundtable webpage to learn more. For questions, please contact Becky Laboy, M.Ed., Education Outreach Specialist, OCSCD, education@soildistrict.org.

Since 1997, the Ocean County Soil Conservation District has been hosting this much anticipated annual Professional Development event. The Barnegat Bay Environmental Educators Roundtable is designed for teachers and educators to enhance their knowledge of local natural resources, culture and history. Participants choose from an array of workshops or field trips and glean valuable tools and resources that support the development of environmental stewardship in the students they teach.

For the past two years the Roundtable was offered in virtual format. In 2022, we are excited to partner with Ocean County Parks and Recreation and return to an in-personoutdoor event to celebrate 25 years of shared learning experiences that root us to the land, to the community, and to each other. We hope you will join us!
In The Field With OCSCD Staff
Seeding Season is Here
Do You Want a Healthy Lawn or Garden? Start with Healthy Soil!
As Ocean County enters the seeding season for USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6b, 7a, and 7b, many project sites will enter the final stage of the construction process through proper grading, topsoiling, and permanent stabilization of all disturbed areas. One of the key elements ensuring adequate grass germination and plant health is good topsoil depth and coverage throughout all disturbed areas to be revegetated. As per the NJ Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Standard for Topsoiling (8-1) there are several factors to keep in mind when determining if topsoil will prove to be an excellent vehicle for plant growth. First, it is important that the topsoil chosen is friable (easily crumbled in the fingers) and loamy (fertile soil consisting of sand, silt, and clay). Second, topsoil should be free of debris, objectional weeds and stones, and free of any chemicals or toxic substances that can have a negative effect inhibiting plant growth. Third, soluble salt content should be relatively low thus preventing high conductivity levels from adversely impacting plant seedling growth. Finally, the overall organic matter of chosen topsoil should be a minimum of 2.75 percent.  The OCSCD staff verify many of these elements at the time of final inspection for projects.  

Before topsoiling, all disturbed areas to be topsoiled should graded as needed to permit the use of equipment for seedbed preparation, seeding, mulching and anchoring, and maintenance over time. If any disturbed areas are heavily compacted, the area should be scarified 6”-12” to ensure good topsoil and subsoil bond (Note: this process is to only be completed in areas where there is no danger to underground utilities). Once the land area is properly graded, topsoil can be applied. In order to maintain the topsoil structure, it is important to never work with wet soil. When wet soil is worked with, the soil particles are packed more tightly together making it difficult for water and air to enter and plant roots to establish themselves. This will make it difficult for vigorous vegetative cover to take root and permanently stabilize the ground. Thus, when applying topsoil ensure it is dry enough to work with and that a uniform depth of 5-inches (unsettled) is added to the surface. After application, all topsoiled areas should be stabilized as per the Standard for Temporary (7-1) Vegetative Cover or Permanent (4-1) Vegetative Coverage. (Photo by Jessica Pinto, Erosion Control Specialist)
Education Programs & Resources
Jersey-Friendly Yards 2022 Webinar Series
Back to Basics: 8 Steps to a Jersey-Friendly Yard!
This year’s webinar series reminds us that a Jersey-Friendly Yard doesn’t have to be a monumental task. Start small and start with the basics. Each program in this series ties-to one of the 8 Steps to a Jersey-Friendly Yard. Join us as we incorporate these basic components into our landscaping practices, resulting in a beautiful and healthy Jersey-friendly Yard!
April 12 - Step 3: Water Wisely
Over 750 million gallons of water are used in NJ every day to irrigate our yards. Up to 50% of the water used outdoors is wasted from inefficient watering methods and systems. This excess water from inefficient watering runs off yards and down storm drains, and picks up fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants and carries them into local rivers, lakes, and bays. You’ll learn ways to conserve water and restore the cycle of water moving through our environment. ‘Water’ you doing right and wrong with your yard? Presenter: Dr. Steve Yergeau, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Agent/Associate Professor with Ocean and Atlantic Counties. Pre-registration required.
Jersey-Friendly Yards was developed by the Barnegat Bay Partnership (BBP), with funding from NJDEP. The Jersey-Friendly Yards website provides comprehensive resources and tools about landscaping for a healthy yard and healthy environment in New Jersey. The Ocean County Soil Conservation District and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County are partnering with the BBP to offer educational programs about how you can make your yard more Jersey-Friendly!
Schedule a Jersey-Friendly Yards Program for Your Group
Calling all Green Teams, Environmental Commissions and Garden Clubs! Is your "Green Group" interested in hosting a Jersey-Friendly Yards webinar for your constituents? Jersey-Friendly Yards partners will provide a free 1 hour webinar discussing the importance of landscaping for a healthy environment. We'll start by introducing the tools and resources on the Jersey-Friendly Yards website, explain how to get your soil tested, introduce water conservation practices, suggest appropriate native plants, and offer ways to attract and support pollinators and wildlife. Contact Karen Walzer kwalzer@ocean.edu and Becky Laboy education@soildistrict.org to schedule a program.
Visit our website: www.SoilDistrict.org
OCSCD's monthly newsletter is edited by Becky Laboy, M.Ed., Education Outreach Specialist. For information about education programs, events and projects pertaining to soil, water, native gardening and natural resource conservation, please contact Becky at education@soildistrict.org. For technical questions regarding soil disturbance and regulations pertaining to the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act, please call (609) 971-7002.