Berkeley Island County Park
Berkeley Township, N.J.
Owner: Ocean County Parks & Recreation
Lead Design Firm and Structural and Civil Engineer: T&M Associates
General Contractor: Eagle Construction Services
Construction Manager: Louis Berger
Architect: Barlo Governale & Associates LLC
Subconsultants: Albert Marine Construction; Stevens Institute of Technology
The scars from 2012’s Superstorm Sandy were still fresh when work began in 2016 to rehabilitate Berkeley Island County Park in Berkeley Township, N.J. When it finally opened, residents discovered that the park had undergone a complete rejuvenation.
Sitting on a 25-acre peninsula in Barnegat Bay, the park lost extensive shoreline and large portions of its parking lot and entrance road to severe erosion. The $7-million project aimed to not only restore damaged areas but also protect against future storms.
A key strategy was to raise the park’s elevation, with most infrastructure now above base flood levels, while the team also installed “living shoreline” elements such as marshes and shoals, stone revetments, offshore stone breakwaters, and a new timber bulkhead to recreate the original shore as well as add natural stabilization and defenses from future storms.
The design used breakwater gaps to regulate high tide entry as well as buoys to protect the shoreline from jet skis and boats.
Even during construction, a nor’easter—one of four in a row—damaged the living shoreline and led to adjustments to shrink some of the breakwater’s openings. The project also required considerable permitting, including to acquire eroded land from the state.
The team added numerous features such as the county’s first spray park, gazebos, a playground and bocce court, a pavilion with brick charcoal grill, storage, restrooms, a refurbished 100-ft-long fishing pier, bait stations with water service, bike racks, various swimming amenities, outdoor showers, an at-grade boardwalk, and a public beach. The project also added all new water, electrical, data, fire hydrant, drainage and lighting systems.
The fully ADA-compliant park also offers revived habitats for shellfish, birds, small animals and fish. Local Boy Scouts were enlisted to add fencing to protect new plantings from the local wildlife.