November 2020
Soil is the foundation of all life on Earth! Attend one of OCSCD's online educational programs, or engage with our many environmental education partners throughout Ocean County. Experience nature at its roots!
Subaqueous Soil Sampling in the Barnegat Bay
OCSCD continues to further our efforts on the Sustainable Practices for Aquaculture Resource Conservation grant project (SPARC). This past month District Erosion Control Specialist Kristin Adams joined NRCS Soil Scientist, David Steinmann in the field to learn how subaqueous soil properties can help determine the best locations for aquaculture in the Barnegat and Great Bays.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Soil and Plant Science Division is responsible for surveying, mapping and interpreting soils throughout the entire country. The Coastal Zone Soil Survey (CZSS) Team focuses its efforts on improving the soil survey along the coastal zone from New England to the Gulf Coast of Texas. This includes the dunes, marshes, beaches, and shallow sub-tidal soils in coastal lagoons, bays, and inlets. Based out of Hammonton, New Jersey, MLRA (Major Land Resource Area) Soil Scientist, David Steinmann is part of this team of soil scientists that works primarily in the coastal zone areas throughout New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. 

Steinmann uses two main methods when taking samples of subaqueous soil (soil that is submerged) or better known as the "bottom of the bay". The McCauley auger method is used in softer, finer textured soils that have more silt and organic matter, allowing for easier penetration with manpower. The auger is pushed into the soil for a 2-meter sample, and then split open for analysis on the boat. The other method is a vibracore, which uses a gas engine to help retrieve a sample, and is brought back to the lab for analysis at a later date.
A subaqueous soil sample from Great Bay is split open for analysis on the boat.
While on site, collection of site data including bottom type, presence of SAV (submerged aquatic vegetation), latitude/longitude and water quality are completed. Collectively, this data is used to map and classify the soil series throughout the coastal zone, similar to terrestrial soil mapping. Each soil series and mapping unit contains its own set of information, and once interpreted is available for viewing on Web Soil Survey. New Coastal Zone interpretation available on Web Soil Survey include suitability for oyster and clam restoration, dredge material placement, blue carbon accounting, living shoreline suitability, and others. The USDA, USEPA, USACOE, NJDEP, Rutgers University, Stockton University and other agencies use this information for a variety of purposes from permitting aquaculture, planning research and restoration efforts, dredging projects and more. Learn more about the SPARC Project on the OCSCD website.
Reducing Non-point Source Pollutant Loading and Improving Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat
The Ocean County Soil Conservation District is excited to announce our partnership with South Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council, Lakewood Township Department of Public Works, and the Camden County Soil Conservation District on an awarded grant from the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Lakewood Township Stormwater Basin Retrofit Project. The 4-year grant focuses on retrofitting stormwater basins within the North and South Branch of the Metedeconk River watershed, a sub-watershed to the Barnegat Bay watershed. The Lakewood Township Stormwater Basin Restoration Project was funded by a Federal 319(h) Water Quality Restoration grant awarded by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to the South Jersey Resource Conservation & Development Council (SJRC&D).
The restoration of Metedeconk River watershed is of critical importance. The Metedeconk River provides over 100,000 residents with a source of clean water for drinking and personal use. The primary goals of the grant are to reduce non-point source pollutant loading, and improve water quality and wildlife habitat by retrofitting stormwater basins.

It is anticipated that up to 12 stormwater basins in Lakewood Township will be retrofitted, each with an individual retrofit design that could include revegetation of the basin with native grasses and wildflowers, reforestation of the basin, structural modification, or other methods that would accomplish an efficient and cost-effective retrofit. Once renovated, the basins will be able to treat and filter target pollutant from stormwater runoff and recharge groundwater more effectively, therefore, decreasing the amount of pollutants and volume of stormwater discharged to receiving streams.
Expanding Biodiversity - Attracting Birds to Your Yard
January 27, 12:00pm
Hosted by the Ecological Landscape Alliance
Join Becky Laboy, Education Outreach Specialist, OCSCD, for a special webinar hosted by the Ecological Landscape Alliance. Using an ecologically holistic approach, Becky will discuss native plant species that are appropriate for yards, and will point out the many ways these species provide essential services to birds. She will also introduce landscape features and practices that support birds, such as leaf litter, brush piles, dead trees, nest boxes, and water features. Pre-registration required. Free to Members of the ELA; Non-member fee is $10.
Get the Dirt on Your Soil
Hosted by Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County
Live Webinar Recordings Available
Healthy lawns and gardens start with healthy soil. Enjoy this series of recorded webinars and learn more about your soil and how to keep it healthy.
Don't Treat Your Soil Like Dirt!
An attractive and productive yard and garden starts with getting to know your soil. This program will teach you the basics about soil, so you can start building a healthy foundation for your garden. Don't treat your soil like dirt! Presenter: Becky Laboy, M.Ed., Education Outreach Specialist, Ocean County Soil Conservation District. Watch a recording of this webinar.
Digging Deeper, What's Your Soil Telling You?
Get the scoop on your soil by taking a soil test! Come find out the importance of testing your soil, how to conduct a soil test and how to interpret the results to keep your lawn and garden healthy and happy. Presenter: Dr. Stephanie Murphy, Director of the Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory. Watch a recording of this webinar.
Root Out Soil Compaction
Soil compaction is a major problem impacting your yard and garden. Learn about what causes compaction, how it affects soil health, and how to correct soil compaction in the home landscape. Presenter: Dr. Steven Yergeau, County Agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean & Atlantic Counties. Watch a recording of this webinar.
Food for Wildlife
Fall and winter months can take a toll on local birds and wildlife. You can support them by planting natives that offer berries, nuts and seeds that persist from November through March. Shagbark Hickory, Winterberry Holly and Sweet Gum are winter supermarkets for wildlife! Search the Jersey-Friendly Yards Plant Database for more perennials, shrubs and trees that are friendly to wildlife.
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) is a large deciduous tree which gets its name from its unique "shaggy" bark. The flowers are followed by edible, hard-shelled nuts, which provide food for birds and other wildlife. Use Shagbark Hickory as a specimen tree or shade tree in large yards or in parks.
Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata) is a deciduous shrub with very showy, bright red, berries that are ripe from late fall through winter. The long-lasting fruit provides winter food for birds. Use Winterberry Holly in shrub borders and hedges. Winterberry Holly is a good choice for wet sites, such as rain gardens and along ponds or streams.
Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) is a large wildlife-friendly deciduous tree. Female flowers are followed by “gum balls” -- hard, spherical, pointy pods, which house seeds that are an attractive food source for birds and wildlife. Use it as a specimen tree or shade tree in your wildlife friendly yard. 
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For more information about education programs, events and projects pertaining to soil, water, native gardening and natural resource conservation, please contact Becky Laboy, Education Outreach Specialist, Ocean County Soil Conservation District: