The health of Barnegat Bay continues to decline, according to the recently released the State of the Bay Report 2011. The report assessed the status and trends of 19 environmental indicators from 2005-2009. Many indicators show below average to degraded conditions, and 11 had negative trends.
Excessive nitrogen loading from everyday activities such as vehicle emissions, land disturbance and alteration, septic systems, fertilizer use, etc., have resulted in a number of problems in the bay. The nitrogen fuels harmful algal blooms and macroalgal blooms. These blooms have negative effects on the habitat of the bay, resulting in low dissolved oxygen conditions and loss of seagrass.
The watershed of Barnegat Bay continues to get developed, and although there have been efforts to protect land areas, more is needed.
There are efforts underway to address some of the multiple problems that are affecting the bay, and the Governor’s 10 point plan is moving forward. There is also a Metedeconk River Watershed Protection and Restoration Plan in a development.
In addition to this great work, many citizens have committed to becoming Barnegat Bay Buddies and are making daily choices, from carpooling to conserving water to not using fertilizer, that reduce impacts to the bay. Click here to learn more about the Bay Buddy program. (Even if you don’t live in the bay watershed, these suggested actions can help reduce pollution to coastal waters and improve water quality.)
For more information, you can call the COA offices.