Delaware Bay Shore Preserve

Delaware Bay Shore
Delaware Bay Shore

The Delaware Bay Shore Preserve (owned and managed by Wildlife Preserves, Inc.) is located in Fairfield Township in Cumberland County, NJ. It is a coastal marsh containing bay shore habitat, a critical resting and feeding area for migratory shorebirds, a spawning area horseshoe crabs, a nesting site for aquatic turtles, as well as a nesting area for American bald eagles. The Preserve also contains limited uplands between the marsh and the bay.

Tourists and students of natural history often visit the Preserve during the horseshoe crab spawning season. Researchers use the area to study the staging and migration of shorebirds, as well as the ecology of the marsh and marine wildlife there. The University of Delaware often holds outdoor classes and research studies on the Preserve. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) monitor and band nesting eagles on the Preserve.

Within the recent past some of the uplands along Beach Avenue have been altered during storm events and much of the peninsula at the end of Beach Avenue has been lost. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd washed away some of the sand dunes there, including a camping area and community boat docks that were used by the public. The loss was apparently exacerbated by the use of off-trail vehicles driving over the dunes. Enormous changes in the land have occurred since the USGS last published its Ben Davis Point topographical map in 1993.

In 2007, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) completed the "Seabreeze Shore Protection Project"- a seawall intended to stabilize the shoreline, prevent tidal erosion, protect the property and wildlife along the bay, including the realignment and rebuilding of Beach Avenue. By the end of 2007 the seawall had failed. In 2009/2010, the NJ DEP bought up all of the summer homes along Seabreeze and Beach Avenues with the intent of letting the land go back to nature.

Directions for GPS users - to find the Delaware Bay Shore Preserve, key in Beach Avenue in Bridgeton, NJ. Wildlife owns the land along Seabreeze Road and shorefront along Beach Avenue and well beyond the end of Beach Avenue.