It's not exactly Christmas in July but recycled Christmas trees are getting a second life of sorts at the Jersey Shore as part of a project to stop beach erosion.

Tim Dillingham, executive director of The American Littoral Society, said the Slay Dale Nature Wildlife Sanctuary in Point Pleasant has been eroding away through coastal storms and wave actions.

Christmas trees make good barriers to waves, said Dillingham. He said the recycled trees are used to trap sediment, slow down wave action and help restore tidal marshes.

Dillingham said a series of structures called cribs are built using lumber and trees in the water. The cribs act like walls that break the waves. The waves drop sediment and that forms the basis for a new salt marsh.

Many restaurants are getting in on the action by donated recycled oyster shells. Dillingham said they are used to help protect the tow or the edge of the salt marsh.

"We really just sort of recreate the oyster reefs that used to be there. We bag them up, they hold together for a while, then hopefully with any luck we'll have new oysters grow on them and become part of the ecology of the river system once again," he said.

He said several thousand trees will be used. The trees are donated by locals who saved them right after the holidays. The Point Pleasant Borough Department of Public Works also picked up the trees, others were donated by Boy Scout troops in the region as well.

This erosion program is only happening in Point Pleasant  but Dillingham said if the project works well, The American Littoral Society hopes to do it in other places.

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