Rumson Pond To Become an Outdoor Classroom

July 5, 2018
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By Jenna Moldaver |

Jim Nickels, marine scientist with Monmouth University, takes
sediment samples from the pond in Rumson. Photo by Jenna Moldaver

RUMSON – The Rumson Board of Education has partnered with the borough to transform the existing pond on the Deane-Porter and Forrestdale schools property into an outdoor educational space.

The project consists of removing about 2,000 cubic yards of sediment from the bottom of the pond to create an average water depth of three to four feet. The dredging is expected to significantly improve the environmental quality of the pond, as more water will allow for temperature stabilization, meaning less vegetative growth and improved oxygen content for fish and wildlife.

The Board and borough are currently working with a consulting engineer to obtain permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to begin the dredging project. They plan to submit their plans for review by the beginning of August. As the NJDEP typically takes 90 to 100 days to review a project, the hope is the project receives approval by the end of 2018. The project will then be put out for public bid. The current plan is to complete the project by the end of summer 2019 to be ready as school reopens.

Monmouth University is also partnering on this project. The university conducted a bathymetric survey on the pond, which provided information on the depth of the pond and the amount of sediment it contains, critical for the dredging plan.

An outdoor classroom that would overlook the pond and be used by multiple grades in science classes and other specialty subjects is also part of the plan. The classroom will be approximately 30 feet by 40 feet.

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Supporters of the project hope it will provide new opportunities for students to engage in the sciences at a young age. Students will be able to take water samples, analyze their contents and visualize concepts they encounter in their classes.

David Marks, the borough engineer, explained how the partnership with Monmouth University also presents a variety of opportunities for students.

“The partnership opens up the opportunity to bring Monmouth University professors and graduate students into the classroom,” Marks said. “They can give a single class topic discussion about what’s in the pond and how we need to treat our environmental resources so that they’re here for our kids and for generations after us.”

Najarian Associates, the company consulting on the project, has also offered to come into the schools for a discussion on pond dredging and its benefits.

“That’ll be licensed professional engineers and environmental scientists coming into the classroom potentially right before the project starts,” said Marks.

The unnamed pond sits on school property, just outside the science classrooms of the Deane-Porter School. An outdoor classroom will be built beside the pond during summer 2019 to be ready for use by the 2019-20 school year. Photo by Jenna Moldaver

The method of dredging has not yet been decided upon. “The NJDEP will regulate how we dredge the pond and there’s two mechanisms here that we’re investigating,” said Marks.

One mechanism, known as mechanical dredging, involves lowering the pond, draining the water out and collecting and relocating marine life. The material is then stockpiled in the pond itself, dried out and then trucked away. The other alternative, hydraulic dredging, involves pumping the sediment at a high velocity and storing it in geotubes as the water flows out. The preferred option as of now is mechanical dredging.

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Either way, students can use the dredging process as an additional learning experience. The superintendent of the Rumson School District, John E. Bormann, is looking to create a project for the students to examine and analyze the pond as dredging occurs.

The soil and sediment that is removed from the pond will be taken to the Monmouth County Landfill where it will be used as cover. The material was sampled and determined to be ideal for this purpose.


This article was first published in the June 28-July 5, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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