Places We Protect

Gandy's Beach Preserve

New Jersey

Shorebirds rely on the beaches and marshes of Gandy's Beach.
Gandy's Beach Preserve Shorebirds rely on the beaches and marshes of Gandy's Beach. © Erika Nortemann/TNC

The shoreline and tidal marshes near Gandy’s Beach act as a natural buffer from storm effects to the local community.



The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey created a “living shoreline” on tidal marshes in the Gandy’s Beach Preserve and adjacent lands. Funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for $880,000, the project involved constructing nearly 3,000 feet of oyster reef and coir biolog shoreline to help reduce local erosion problems and provide quality habitat for species like horseshoe crabs and red knots.

The shoreline and tidal marshes near Gandy’s Beach and Money Island act as a natural buffer from storm effects to the homes, businesses and roads in that area of Downe Township. But over time they have eroded badly—in fact, the Gandy’s Beach shoreline has shrunk by nearly 500 feet since 1930. Superstorm Sandy hit the region’s coastal ecosystems hard in 2012, further diminishing their protective value and leaving the communities vulnerable to significant flooding.

The Nature Conservancy teamed up with The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Rutgers University, and other organizations at Gandy’s Beach and Money Island to increase the resiliency of tidal marsh, beach and oyster habitats to impacts of climate change and sea level rise. The strategies included installing oyster reef breakwaters, coir logs and vegetation along the Gandy’s Beach shoreline and Nantuxent Creek.

"The early results show a reduction in wave energy and erosion, helping reduce flooding, and also an increasing wildlife habitat," says Moses Katkowski, Coastal Projects Manager.

Katkowski believes the work at Gandy’s Beach has yet another function: as a demonstration site for local and state governments, land owners and Bayshore residents to see the value of a renewed living shoreline in action. “We hope the Gandy’s project will be a model we can replicate where needed in other areas of the state,” he says.

What is a Coir Biolog?

Coir is a fiber that comes from the husk of coconuts. It is one of the few natural fibers that is not only waterproof, but resistant to damage by saltwater. Coir biologs are constructed by fashioning a compact center of coconut fiber within an exterior of coir mesh netting that holds everything together. The finished biologs can be strategically placed to help stabilize areas prone to erosion, like steep hillsides, shorelines and other areas exposed to waves or currents.




Dawn to dusk

Explore our work in this region

The preserve is open from dawn to dusk. During the shorebird migration in May and June, the beach is closed; birding enthusiasts can view the spectacular natural phenomenon from a kiosk overlooking the water.


The preserve harbors several state-rate plants, including upright bindweed (Convolvulus spithamaeus), coast bedstraw (Galium hispidulum) and bristling panic grass (Panicum aciculare).


State-endangered raptors, including northern harriers (Circus cyaneus) and peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus), and threatened wintering bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) use the land.

For more information, please contact the New Jersey chapter’s Southern New Jersey field office at (609) 861-0600.

Visitation Guidelines

  • Please limit fishing and walking along the beach during shorebird migration season (mid-May through June).
  • Littering and dumping are prohibited.
  • No collecting or trapping.
  • Motorized vehicles are prohibited.
  • No swimming, camping, fires or alcoholic beverages.