Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Enjoy an Ocean-Friendly Summer This Year with Environmentally-friendly tips from Clean Ocean Action

Summer is almost here!  Beaches are set to “officially” open for the season on Memorial Day weekend!  As you are busy planning and packing for your next waterfront/beach getaways, here are a few tips to leave ocean-friendly footprints on the sands.
Reduce your waste generation and avoid littering the beach and waterways.  Now is the time to show that you care!

• Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!  Stay away from  single-use plastics.  They are a menace to the environment, marine life, and a public health risk!
•    Stop contaminants from washing into stormwater systems – it’s the single largest contributor of water quality problems.  Eliminate lawn and garden chemicals including fertilizers. 
•    Be sure your car is not leaking oil or other fluids onto pavements and use a car wash.
•    Never put anything in a storm-drain.
•    Pick up your pet’s waste and dispose appropriately! Bacteria from pet waste contaminate our rivers and oceans, and are harmful to public health!
•    Share these steps with friends and family for a splashing fun and water-healthy summer!

How Safe is your waterway/beach?
Clean Ocean Action will follow NJDEP’s recreational beach water quality monitoring program from mid-May to mid-September.  COA’s Facebook page will be updated every week with NJDEP’s monitoring result on water quality, beach advisories or closings, if any, and additional updates that affect beachgoers. 

Hawaii’s Proposed Legislation to Protect Coral Reefs COA on Fox News Prime Time TV

The state of Hawaii recently passed legislation SB2571, which if signed into law by the Governor, will prohibit the sale of sunscreens and personal sun care protection products containing two chemicals - oxybenzone and octinoxate.  These two chemicals are harmful to Hawaii’s marine ecosystems including its coral reefs that protect hundreds of miles of shoreline. 

Some deleterious effects of these two chemicals include: mortality of growing corals, bleaching of coral reefs, endrocrine disruption and embryonic deformities in marine organisms and mammals.  These chemicals enter and damage the marine environment due to being washed off swimmers and other beach goers. 

If SB2471 is signed by the Governor, this Act will take effect on Jan 01, 2019.  The state of Hawaii will become the first in the nation to address the harmful impacts of oxybenzone and octinoxate to coral reefs and marine life.  Fox News TV immediately contacted Clean Ocean Action to hear about COA’s thoughts on this issue.  On behalf of COA, Staff Scientist, Dr. Swarna Muthukrishnan concurred that these two chemicals indeed are harmful and should be avoided by choosing to use alternatives that pose less risk to the marine environment.

Springing into Summer with Rally for the Navesink

On May 24th, local citizens and supporters attended a public meeting at Bingham Hall in Rumson to learn about the many exciting summer programs focused on restoring and protecting the Navesink River.

Captain Al Modjeski from American Littoral Society spoke about the latest on Operation Oyster, their initiative to investigate native oyster populations in the Navesink, as well as their other restoration programs.

Also on the agenda was Mike Danko from NJ Sea Grant Consortium. He discussed the NJ Clean Vessel Act Program, which provides funds for marinas to install pump-outs to properly dispose of vessel-generated sewage. 

Various, Rally for the Navesink Alliance members also shared updates on their ongoing initiatives and programs.

Approximately 700 Students get Soggy and Sandy at Two-Day Seaside Summit

Approximately 700 5th - 8th grade students from 29 schools throughout Central and Northern NJ joined scientists and volunteer educators at Sandy Hook National Park for Clean Ocean Action’s (COA) 30th  Annual Spring Student Summit on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 and Thursday, May 17, 2018. Students participated in hands-on roundtable activities and interactive fieldtrips, with the beaches, trails and marshes of Sandy Hook as the classroom setting for each day.

Students participated in hands-on learning-table activities which included live horseshoe crabs, dune profiling, marine debris impacts, live invertebrates identification and biology, an EnviroScape demonstration in nonpoint source pollution, and climate change.

“It’s so inspiring to see children’s eyes light up with wonder when they see or
hold a horseshoe crab for the first time, or when they make the connection between clean beaches and healthy habitats for wildlife.  It’s at that moment that they become stewards of their watery world, and they want to make a difference, ” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action.

Field activities included teaching students to use seine nets to collect and identify common marine species of Sandy Hook Bay, a Botany Walk, Salt March Adventures, Beach Sweeps, a Seaside Scavenger Hunt, Searching for Microplastics, Birding, Fishing Techniques, and a Holly Forest Walk. Students also participated in a special beach profiling activity highlighting the importance of dunes in protecting coastal habitat.

Clean Ocean Action thanks our partners making this event possible: Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook, The Marine Academy of Science & Technology (MAST), as well as the individual field trip leaders.

“There is nothing that replaces experiencing the marine environment up close and personal with sand , salt air and sea critters!  Clean Ocean Action is proud to be the host of this exciting event for 30 years, over which time tens of thousands of students have discovered their love of the coast and its wildlife, and may have become ocean stewards as a result.  Clean Ocean Action would like to thank the Park Service for its continued support, MAST faculty and its amazing students who serve as peer leaders, the many diverse presenters from New Jersey’s environmental community and, especially, the teachers and their students who appreciate and continue to support outdoor environmental education in New Jersey,” said Amanda Wheeler, COA’s Volunteer and Education Coordinator.