Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On Earth Day 5 Years Ago Governor Christie Pledged to Oppose Any LNG Application off the Coast

On April 22, 2010 Governor Christie made an Earth Day pledge:

‘For as long as I am governor, this administration will oppose any application for liquefied natural gas.’ The Governor also expressed his opposition to ‘any kind of offshore drilling.’

 Governor Christie’s 2010 Earth Day pledge was an important pledge for protecting our Ocean and coast from industrialization. The Governor kept his 2010 Earth Day promise by vetoing the then proposed Liberty Natural Gas LNG facility in 2011, stopping the project. We applaud Governor Christie for his firm stance on opposing LNG and any kind of offshore drilling. Since the project is back again, now known as Port Ambrose, we still need the Governor to stand firm against LNG.

On Earth Day we recall and salute the strong vow Governor Christie made to defend our coast from LNG and oil and gas drilling.  As we fight back against Port Ambrose we know we have Governor Christie’s vow to veto any application to ensure the project is dead in the water.

Here is more on Governor Christie's 2010 Earth Day Pledge:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Why I am a Beach Captain

By Leah A. Savia

Clean Ocean Action’s Beach Captain for Island Beach State Park

Clean Ocean Action’s Beach Sweeps is an important event that I have had the distinct pleasure of volunteering for as Beach Captain at the Island Beach State Park location the last five years. I will a Beach Captain there this upcoming Spring Beach Sweep on Saturday April 25th. As a transplant from NYC, and new member of the Barnegat Bay Watershed, I was introduced to Beach Sweeps as part of a student event at Ocean County College and consider it not only a duty, but one of my core passions—volunteering, to ensure the safety and cleanliness of our surrounding water bodies.

What better way to truly be a part of this amazing county and community? Beach Sweeps is a family, couple, grandparent, kids, and student friendly event, and it provides an education component that transcends being inside of a classroom. Very often the nature of what refuse is found is discussed, pondered, and further researched by many of the groups I work with every spring and fall season. How did a crematorium tag from Bergen County get all the way down here on the bayside? It certainly spurs the imagination of our participants.

Sharing my experience and satisfaction with being a part of this event is perhaps why I am choosing to write you. Surely there are some good people reading your publication who have the desire to do something for their community, they just don’t know what. If any of you reading this swim, sail, walk, run, entertain guests, meditate, do yoga, waverun, or bask in the glorious summer sky off or on the shores of the Atlantic or surrounding waterways, to them and to you, I say -  come join us Saturday April 25th from 9 AM to 12:30 PM at over 70 locations around New Jersey! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

2014 Beach Sweep Dirty Dozen – Top 12 items found

For thirty years, Clean Ocean Action (COA) has been scouring the beaches of New Jersey for marine debris, which then gets compiled into annual reports showing the type and amount of debris collected. Last year nearly 7,000 volunteers took to the beaches and bays collecting and recording what they found. The findings are compiled in the 2014 Beach Sweeps Annual Report, highlighting the Dirty Dozen, Roster of the Ridiculous, and the totals for over 90 items of marine debris collected by volunteers last year. Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps started at Sandy Hook in 1985 with 75 volunteers and has become New Jersey’s largest environmental event, with thousands of citizens search and clean nearly the entire coastline and bay beaches.

In 2014, close to 7,000 volunteers collected, tallied, and removed over 315,000 pieces of debris from New Jersey’s shoreline during Clean Ocean Action’s 29th Annual Beach Sweeps. The majority of the debris removed was disposable plastics. Plastic, including foam, represents 76.9% of the total waste found. The evidence is clear: disposable plastic items continue to litter beaches, threaten marine life, and impact water quality.  

Dirty Dozen – Top 12 Items Found:
  1. Plastic Pieces – 40,880 
  2. Cigarette Filters – 30,241
  3. Plastic Caps/Lids – 29,804
  4. Food Candy Wrappers/Bag – 27,381
  5. Straws/Stirrers – 18,372
  6. Foam Pieces – 13,050
  7. Glass Pieces – 12,703
  8. Plastic Beverages/Soda Bottles – 11,775
  9. Lumber Pieces – 9,235
  10. Plastic Store/Shopping Bags – 8,037
  11. Cigar Tips – 6,366
  12. Paper Pieces – 5,560

Pollution continues to flow in from many land point and non-point sources in the New York City and New Jersey metropolitan area. Over the past four years, small plastic pieces have consistently placed in the top two types of items found during Clean Ocean Action’s Beach Sweeps. In 2014, plastic pieces ranked number one.

Always remember REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE! Reusable bottles, straws, and shopping bags would greatly reduce the amount of plastic we use. Always refuse or reuse when you can, but if that is not an option always recycle!

Don’t forget to join us for the 30th Annual Spring Beach Sweeps Saturday April 25th from 9 AM to 12:30 PM at over 70 locations around New Jersey. Visit for more information and how to register! 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Expand Learning Beyond the Classroom

Twice a year middle school students from around New Jersey experience hands-on marine environmental education at the Jersey Shore. Central and Northern County students visit Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook in May and Southern County students visit Island Beach State Park in October. The Student Summit is a great way to expand learning beyond the classroom.

Students get to learn about different marine animals and ecosystems at their location. In the Spring students learn about one of NJ’s unique and ancient marine animals, the horseshoe crab. Students learn about the life history of this species that pre-dates the dinosaurs, the myths about this animal, its role in the ecosystem, the biomedical and economic importance to humans, and how we have impacted the species. Students will be shown the proper way to handle the horseshoe crab so they can get a closer look at this valuable species.

In the fall, the students learn about terrapins, turtles that inhabit estuaries along the east and Gulf coasts of the United States. Students learn about the life history of this species, interesting variations in their marking attributed to genetic diversity, its role in the ecosystem, and how we have impacted the species. Students will be shown the proper way to hold and handle the terrapins so they can get a closer look at this interesting species.

Other activities at the Student Summit include an interactive series of work stations with a variety of hands-on activities for students to learn about the environment. Students will learn about the water quality approach to aquatic resource assessment by collecting and analyzing water samples. New Jersey is within the Atlantic Flyway, providing a diverse viewing of coastal birds throughout the year. Students will join local birding experts in a survey and identification of coastal birds. Waves, wind, and currents shape New Jersey's barrier beaches. By making a beach profile, students will understand sand distribution, beach zones, and tidal water levels. New Jersey’s estuaries offer a variety of habitats as important breeding, feeding, and nursery grounds for a diversity of fish and invertebrate species. Students will use seine nets and sieves to collect fish and invertebrates to observe and identify common marine animals found in the local bays. Students will learn about the types, quantities, and sources of marine debris plaguing our coastal region and will participate in a cleanup.

These hands on activities allow students to get out of the classroom and into nature. In this day and age it is important to get children back outside exploring their own backyard. During our Student Summits participating students not only get to learn about different species and issues, but get to hold the animals, collect samples, and see firsthand threats facing our coast. The Summit left a lasting impression on past participants and we encourage more schools to apply!

The deadline for the Spring Summit is April 24th. Apply today! 

More information on the Student Summit can be found on our website under Education Programs