More than a dozen pairs of hands -- some which normally work at Goldman Sachs -- were being introduced to callouses Monday morning at the site of the fomer Jimmy Byrnes property on Route 71 at the base of Wreck Pond.
The more than 900-square foot rain garden -- a natural device to cleans stormwater runoff before it pollutes nearby streams or groundwater -- was being installed at the site where Monmouth County workers recently completed a sediment removal project at Wreck Pond, the troubled waterway blamed for numerous beach closures due to pollution.
The project was coordinated by a local Girl Scout, Emily Moschowits, a student at Biotechnology High School, county master gardeners, volunteers from Goldman Sachs and the county Department of Public Works and Engineering. Moschowits is working toward her Gold Star, the highest rank attainable in the Girl Scouts and her father works at Goldman Sachs, which is how that organization became involved, workers at the site said.
At its completion, the rain garden will be the biggest in the area, according to William Sciarappa of the Rutgers cooperative extsion of Monmouth County, which is overseeing the garden.
"This is our Taj Mahal,'' Sciarappa said.
The rain garden, a depression in the soil that collects stormwater runoff and filters it like a sieve through the plants and soil before returning it to the groundwater supply, is the latest in a series of such gardens around Wreck Pond. But at 990-square feet, it is the largest.
The project is being paid for by a state DEP grant, according to Vivian Quinn, also a Rutgers extension worker. The work is being done now to help prevent the recently dredged Wreck Pond from filling again with sediment and causing flooding and other problems in the area, Quinn said.
The rain garden is being planted with about 20 perrenial flowers, about 10 native grasses, a couple of River Birch trees, day lillies and other flora, Quinn said.
Last week the Township Committee decided to give an okay to the construction of the rain garden after it was decided that nearby Spring Lake would maintain the garden, in exchange for a yet-unnamed shared services agreement.