Monday, November 6, 2017

Shrewsbury Dredging to Feed Monmouth Beach Shoreline COA Urges Oversight to Ensure Safe Navigation and Clean Beach Enrichment

Highlands-  Imminently the New Jersey Department of Transportation will begin sand shoal maintenance dredging soon in three NJ state navigation channels in the Shrewsbury River, Clean Ocean Action (COA) urges the Shrewsbury River community and Monmouth Beach –goers to keep a safe distance-- but a watchful eye on the upcoming dredging and beach replacement projects to ensure project complies with public and ecosystem health requirements.

“Clean Ocean Action received a copy of the notice of dredging that was issued by NJDOT to the DEP’s Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring, which we carefully reviewed and thus far all permit conditions have been met. However, oversight and monitoring are essential and local people can help.” said Swarna Muthukrishnan, PhD., COA Staff Scientist. 

The preliminary permit conditions included:

a)      Sediment cores were sampled of the material to test the quality of the material to ensure proper management.  Only certain areas qualify for beach replenishment.  The standard is 90% or greater sand material for beaches. 
b)      A pre-dredging biological survey was conducted on Sep 19, 2017 by a consulting firm to look for seabeach amaranth, a plant that is on the federal “threatened” plants list.  The survey identified 2 areas of seabeach amaranth, with a total of four plants.  These have been documented by US Fish & Wildlife Service and fenced off, and are located outside of the proposed beach fill and dredge pipe placement area.  
c)       A 30-day notice was issued announcing that shellfish waters in the Shrewsbury River must be closed due to the suspension of the sediments and possible exposure of clams to contamination.  Shellfishing shall be closed for harvesting for the duration of dredging operations and the closure shall extend 30-days after completion of works.
d)      Hydraulic dredging will be used, and the dredged material will be transported via pipeline to the beach placement area. Pipe lines are currently in place and project ready.

COA urges citizens who are regularly in the Shrewsbury River and walking along the shore in Monmouth Beaches to keep a safe distance, but also a watchful eye to be sure:
·         Material pumped on beaches in front of the existing dune between Central and Park Road and looks like 90% sand.  It will likely be discolored (greyish) from being on the bottom of the river, but it should be sandy.  
·         Be sure fenced areas protecting the rare plant species, beach amaranth, are intact.
·         Barges are dredging in the designated areas, circled on the maps below.
·         Dredging activities must end by December 31, 2017.
Dredging locations:
(i)                  Monmouth Beach channel (#016) in the boroughs of Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright, to a maximum depth of 6-ft below the Plane of Mean Low Water Level (MLW);
(ii)                (ii) Rumson Country Club Y Channel (#017)  in the boroughs of Rumson and Sea Bright, to a maximum depth of 5-ft MLW; and
(iii)               (iii) Oceanport Creek Entry channel (#025) in the borough of Oceanport, to a maximum depth of 4-ft MLW.  Approximately 17,500 cubic yards is estimated to be removed from the three channels according to the permit details. 
Together this important project will improve waterways for safe navigation, and replenish beaches with clean sand.  Clean Ocean Action will be monitoring the process carefully, along with the communities of the Shrewsbury River and Monmouth Beach.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Pawfect Advocacy

Over 100 dogs took to the beaches on Sunday, October 15th at COA’s 3rd Annual Sandy Paws event! Sandy Paws dogs helped to raise over $11,425! These important funds will support COA’s year-round work to protect and improve the marine environment. To learn more about how COA works with pollution sniffing dogs to track down sources, visit our website and follow COA on
social media!

Pup-packs took place across the nation with participants joining in Boston, Seattle, LA, Atlanta and more.  In NJ large Packs were hosted in Sea Bright and at the Raritan Bay Waterfront Park. The largest pack united in Asbury Park with PAWsome vendors and giveaways, walk and beach cleanup, a pet costume contest and more! The Pack then enjoyed specialty cocktails, such as the “Paw-Draws” and “Hair of the Dog” sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka where a portion of each drink benefited COA. Top Dog Stella Bujold of Monmouth Beach raised $1,145 & Runner Pup Jax Ortiz raised $880. It was a great day making a difference for the beaches for pups and people!
Visit to get your dog ready for the 2018 Sandy Paws!

Volunteers Saving Marine Life with Feet on the Beach and Hands in the Sand

Volunteers Saving Marine Life with Feet on the Beach and Hands in the Sand

Over 3000 volunteers gathered today from 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM at over 60 New Jersey beaches and waterways to clean harmful debris at Clean Ocean Action’s (COA) 32nd Annual Fall Beach Sweeps. Enthusiastic volunteers spent the day cleaning, collecting and calculating debris removed at sites from Essex to Cape May Counties. The data produced from this event is publicized in an annual report that provides a deeper exploration into the pollution issues throughout the Jersey Shore.
Beach Sweeps help reduce water pollution on land before debris enter waterways, becoming potentially harmful and even lethal to aquatic life. The data from the Beach Sweeps turns a one-day event into a legacy of information to improve public awareness, change wasteful habits, enforce litter laws and improve policies to reduce sources of marine debris.

“People are responsible for generating marine debris and it is our responsibility to eliminate it.  While we can all do more to reduce our use of disposables and never litter, we can also help by removing trash from beaches and shorelines.  People like clean beaches, but for marine life it’s a matter of life and death.  Marine life suffers by entanglement and ingestion of the marine debris due to people’s carelessness.   Beach Sweep Captains and volunteers are sea champions and every piece of trash removed, is potentially a life saved,”  Cindy Zipf, Executive Director, Clean Ocean Action.

Data from today’s Beach Sweeps will be combined with data collected from the 2017 Spring Beach Sweeps that was held on April 22nd. The Beach Sweeps annual report identifies pollution problems and educates citizens on the quantities and types of marine debris. Legislators will receive the cumulative data and use it to implement stricter litter bans and enforce laws to protect the marine environment.

The 2016 Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps Annual Report can be downloaded here at

Preliminary results from Sandy Hook including the top five items:
·         number one – 6,994 plastic pieces
·         number two – 5,702 caps/lids
·         number three – 3,012 straws/stirrers
·         number four – 2,926 food/candy wrappers
·         number five – 1,438 cigarette filters

Throughout Beach Sweeps, volunteers are encouraged to note any out-of-the-ordinary finds. COA labels these finds as “The Roster of the Ridiculous”. Some of the items catalogued today included: Tinker Bell toy, knee brace, vampire teeth, nail clippers, googly eyes, ear plugs, phone charger, gift bow, dog bone, diaper, bloody bandage and a vape mouth piece. There were an unusually high number of syringes and blood vials found on Sandy Hook.

"It was a picture perfect day for the Sweeps! The energy of the crowd was amazing and everybody was super enthusiastic about heading out to the beaches," Katie Costello, Beach Sweeps Coordinator, High School Student, Marine Academy of Science and Technology.

COA Beach Captains are there to the direct to the hub of volunteers and individual participates at each site. These Captains lead the cleanup effort and are an indispensable part to which we owe the overall success of the program.

“Beach Sweeps, large or small, I felt always made a difference and I approached each one every year with equal enthusiasm. The sweeps were like a calendar to me, they brought about a change of seasons in the Fall and a new beginning to the seasons in the Spring. Your representatives always had a utopian desire to succeed in their clean up endeavors. Selfishly I have been drawn to the sea even as a child growing up in Ocean City New Jersey so the opportunity to gaze upon the sea and clean its beaches wasn’t a task at all,” Franz S. Adler, Margate Beach Sweep Captain of 29 Years.

With gratitude, Clean Ocean Action thanks: AVEDA, Bank of America, Comcast and ShopRite for their 2017 Beach Sweeps Statewide Sponsorships. The Spring Beach Sweeps are made possible by support from many generous sponsors.

“Through partnerships with organizations like Clean Ocean Action, we’re helping improve our environment,” said Bob Doherty, New Jersey Market President, Bank of America. “In addition to the company’s financial support over the years, our employees are always excited to volunteer at Beach Sweeps to help clean up our beaches and waterways and protect wildlife,” Etta Rudolf, Sr. Vice President, NJ Market Manager, Bank of America.

Waves of thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers, from the small to the tall, who participated in today’s Beach Sweeps! Together we can all make a difference for a cleaner ocean to be enjoyed by generations to come simply by picking up litter whenever and wherever we see it. For example, a piece of debris found on a central or northern New Jersey street can travel downstream and eventually end-up in the ocean.

Student Scientists Gather at Fall Student Summits

Island Beach State Park
On October 5th over 200 student “scientists for the day” from all around South Jersey gathered in Island Beach State Park with their teachers, chaperones and local naturalists to participate in the 29th Annual Free Fall Student Summit.  Middle school students learned about marine science and environmental issues from MATES (Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Sciences) students who led mini-lessons at the Environmental Roundtables on topics they had researched, such as Nonpoint Source Pollution, Local Invertebrates and Hurricanes.  Each middle school student was led on a field trip by a naturalist.  Field trips included a Nature Walk, Mollusk and Crustacean Hunt, Beachcombing, Seining, Clamming and Beach Sweep.

COA thanks all the field trip leaders for sharing their expertise and the gracious staff of beautiful Island Beach State Park for hosting us at their fabulous location. Waves of thanks to Jenkinson’s Aquarium for bringing critters and Dr. John Wnek from MATES for connecting his top-notch high school students to COA’s Student Summit. Thank you, John,
for inspiring the next wave of environmental stewards.

New York Student Summit

COA teamed-up with longtime friends and Participating Organization, the Natural Resources and Protective Association (NRPA), for the first New York Student Summit on October 25th at the Great Kills Park on Staten Island.  The School for Civic Leadership and Staten Island Academy students and their teachers were treated to a morning of outdoor hands-on lessons about their local ecology.  

The NRPA including our co-coordinator, Tony Rose, and COA’s Amanda Wheeler amassed an impressive assembly of local environmental groups and advocates who hosted the Environmental Roundtables on topics such as the Billion Oyster Project, Eels, Horseshoe Crabs, and Friends and Freshwater Marshes.  The Staten Island Zoo brought some local critters for  up close and personal encounters with students.  On the Field Trips, SCAPE taught students about their coastal resiliency project, the Staten Island Sport Divers showed students some cool SCUBA equipment, Gateway National Park Naturalists took students seining and soil testing, and members of the NRPA showed the students the joys of surfcasting.  COA Executive Director, Cindy Zipf, took students on a Beach Sweep where they documented and removed much unimaginable debris, literally including the kitchen sink! 

This event was made possible thanks to the support and vision of The Mental Insight Foundation, as well as all who participated, supported and coordinated this pilot project that we are anticipating will become a regular event!