Thursday, August 31, 2017

What is dredging and why is it important?

Dredging is defined as the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbors, and other water bodies (NOAA). It is often necessary to conduct this activity all around the world’s waterways because the natural process of sand and silt washing downstream fills in channels and harbors overtime, interfering with the navigation of ships. As such, dredging is important to the economy. Large container ships carry the bulk of the goods imported into the United States, and waterways need to be navigable. However, the most challenging issue related to dredging is what to do with all the dredge material. Addressing this problem requires thoughtful, proactive, community-based planning.     
     

More general information on dredging can be found on NOAA’s website at https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/dredging.html.



Dredging at Fisherman's Cove in Manasquan, July 19, 2017

Post-dredging at Fisherman’s Cove in Manasquan, August 2, 2017


COA and Beneficial Reuse
Clean Ocean Action has been on the forefront of developing, analyzing, and advocating for community driven dredged material management plans and solutions for over 30 years. COA advocates for dredging of existing channels and in some circumstances, environmental dredging and the removal of contaminated or ecologically harmful dredge material. To manage the material, COA encourages beneficial use of dredged material as a resource through a well-defined regulatory structure that effectively matches dredged materials with appropriate projects.  It is essential that the options for beneficial use be dependent on the quality of the dredged material.  For example, clean sand can be used for beach nourishment, habitat creation, and flood control projects while material that contains some contaminants can be used for brownfield remediation, and landfill closures and capping after it has been processed to immobilize the contaminants. Moreover, the development of community-based dredged material management plans are of utmost importance. These plans should be recognized by regulatory authorities and supported by the public to help ensure that only the most environmentally – and economically – sound decisions are being made.  These approaches should be developed proactively, before dredge material management becomes a crisis. COA also works to ensure that the dredged material that is being pumped onto the beach meets 

Keeping Swimmers Safe from Sewage

The NJ DEP in cooperation with local county health departments manages the Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program. From mid-May to mid-September, recreational beach water quality at 217 beaches including 180 ocean and other bay monitoring stations is monitored each week.  Water samples are collected every Monday, and tested for the presence and abundance of Entercoccus.  DEP posts the results of these tests to the CCMP website every Tuesday and in turn COA posts the results to Facebook.

Since the July update, COA has been compiling the CCMP water quality data to track down the frequencies of closures and advisories and is evaluating the difference between mild and severe rainfall events and its effects on the bacteria levels in the water. Highlights as of mid-August:

·        -  67 beach advisories and 33 closures in total
·        -  the week of July 24 had the maximum number of advisories and closings thus far—a total of 31 advisories and  15 closures.  The cause?  A major rain event just prior to the sampling pounded the coast with 1.6 inches of rain in 48 hours.  


COA will continue to evaluate the data for the remainder of the monitoring season and inform the public through weekly social media posts.  More information can be found at njbeaches.org.  


COA’s 29th Annual Free Fall Student Summit is on October 5th!

Students and their teachers in 5th – 8th grades in South Jersey schools (from Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem Counties) are invited to attend Clean Ocean Action’s free Fall Student Summit on October 5th at Island Beach State Park.  

Students as “marine scientists for the day” will converge on the park for an action packed Seaside Symposium including a lecture by Project Terrapin, ten-minute hands-on mini-lessons on various marine science topics led by MATES students, and field trips with a professional naturalist.  The deadline for applications is September 8th.  The application and terms of participation can be found on our website.  Visit the Education Programs tab of our website and scroll to the Student Summit link for the application and terms.  Contact education@cleanoceanaction.org with any questions. 


Barnegat Bay Restoration Initiative

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) held a meeting to discuss the status of the Barnegat Bay based on six years of intensive research and a new draft strategy for the bay’s Restoration, Enhancement, and Protection for the Barnegat Bay. 
Cindy Zipf (COA’s Executive Director) and Dr. Swarna Muthukrishnan (COA’s Staff Scientist) attended the meeting at Ocean County College on Aug 09, 2017.  NJDEP presented a series of presentations on the findings of the various research projects conducted since 2011.  These research studies have shown that nutrient pollution, especially, nitrogen, is a major factor for the water quality impairment in Barnegat Bay.  This is not surprising as studies over the last 40 years have been showing these same concerns.  However these studies added more weight and strength to the need to reduce nitrogen loading to the bay, as well as the need to address climate change.

Most importantly, the second half of the meeting focused on the NJDEPS’s draft strategy and actions for restoring the Bay.  The draft strategy includes short- (0-2 yrs), mid-(2-3 yrs), and long-(3-5 yrs) term measures and actions in four areas: Restoration, Enhancement, Protection and Monitoring.  The attendees, long standing advocates for and researchers of Barnegat Bay, including COA, actively participated in offering feedback and comments to improve and prioritize the various action items.  During the meeting, COA emphasized the need to define and differentiate between the goals and objectives, and also advocated the urgent need to better integrate climate change risks in these restoration efforts.