Tuesday, June 30, 2020

World Oceans Day: A Social Media Splash!

Each year on June 8th, World Oceans Day is internationally celebrated to remind people of the major role that oceans play in their everyday lives. While Clean Ocean Action treats everyday like it is World Oceans Day, we could never miss an opportunity to further celebrate and educate! Throughout World Oceans Day, COA posted a series of short, inspiring videos to our social media accounts for our viewers to learn, celebrate, and remind them of their various connections to the ocean. 

From 7:30am to 8pm, the videos began with a peaceful sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, ended with sunset colors over the ocean, and had ocean-related fun in-between. Joining our celebration were some of our favorite local ocean advocates, enthusiasts, and experts. Kathleen Gasienica and David Grant took viewers beachcombing at Sandy Hook, and searching for horseshoe crabs on nearby shores. Further down the coast, Bryan Zinski connected viewers with the ocean with surfing in Asbury Park. It truly was a splash!

Waves of thanks to Kathleen, David, Bryan, and to all who tuned-in from home to celebrate. COA also thanks Jersey Shore-based CBD For Life for hosting a sale on World Oceans Day to benefit COA. Remember to help keep our oceans clean so that they can continue to support life for generations to come!

NJ Bill to Require Recycled Content

On June 17, COA’s Policy Attorney Peter Blair, Esq., testified virtually before the NJ Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Senate Bill No. 2515, which would create recycled content requirements for several items sold in the state (i.e., plastic containers, glass containers, paper carryout bags, reusable carryout bags made of plastic film, and plastic trash bags). This legislation will help ensure the development of a market for post-consumer recycled content, and thereby limit the need for newly produced plastic, and help ensure more plastic is routed to recycling centers, and not the ocean.

While COA is encouraged by and supports this legislation, we strongly advocate that it be a part of a legislative package that includes other plastic reduction measures. This legislation is a needed step that will make recycling more meaningful in New Jersey and help increase the public’s level of trust in the process of recycling. To read COA’s testimony, click here

The Future of Water Quality Monitoring in the Two Rivers

Weekly water quality sampling at locations throughout the Navesink River has been suspended since March due to COVID-19. Mid-June marked the conclusion of the third year of the citizen science ambient water quality monitoring program in the Navesink River. The program as it has operated over the past three years will not continue for a fourth year, as the NJDEP Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring is prioritizing their core programs, especially those that impact human health. COA would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the many volunteer citizen scientists who dedicated hundreds of hours, in rain or shine, to collect water quality samples. These included volunteers from numerous Rally for the Navesink Alliance partners, including Monmouth Boat Club, Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, Navesink River Rowing, River Rats Sailing, and Jersey Shore Sierra Club.

Fortunately, COA has been selected to receive an EPA Equipment Loan for the third year in a row. With the equipment provided through this program, starting in July, COA will be able to monitor pathogen levels at targeted locations throughout the Two Rivers watershed to continue source trackdown efforts. COA’s new Water Quality Intern, Jacob Sorrentino, will assist with sampling this summer, as well as other new exciting projects in the Two Rivers!

NJ Moves to be Lead in Offshore Wind Energy Industry

Governor Murphy announced plans for the construction of “The New Jersey Wind Port,” a 200-acre new port facility in Salem County, NJ. The port is expected to solidify New Jersey as a leader in the clean energy economy. COA applauds the choice to create a centralized development port in an already industrial area. By creating one centralized port, New Jersey is ensuring that the growth of the offshore wind (OSW) industry does not come at the expense of our coastal environment by increasing industrialization in important environmental areas.

As NJ’s offshore wind industry grows, COA urges leaders and companies to ensure that all offshore wind development is done in the most environmentally responsible manner possible. Many factors must be considered to ensure that the land-based facilities necessary for the offshore wind industry
are designed to minimize their overall impact on the environment. These include, but are not limited to: placing all onshore facilities in environmentally preferable locations, making sure that all development is created with as small a footprint as possible, and ensuring that ports are energy efficient and resilient to climate impacts such as rising sea levels.

While offshore wind will play a role in New Jersey’s needed transition to a clean energy future, it is not the only answer. Other measures must also be taken to ensure the ocean is not needlessly industrialized based on human energy demands. This includes minimizing energy needs through energy efficiency and conservation. COA will evaluate all individual projects to ensure OSW meets these standards. Consistent with COA's mission, efforts to fight climate change will be a priority.