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SANDY HOOK: JOIN THE 100TH BIRTHDAY BLITZ

sandy hook 070415 1Amateur naturalists, “citizen scientists” and other volunteers are invited to participate in a “BioBlitz” census of species on Sandy Hook, September 23 and 24.

This year, the National Parks Service observes the 100th anniversary of its founding — and as part of the year-long celebration, the federal agency will coordinate more than 100 “BioBlitz” initiatives at parks and other protected lands across the nation.

Out on the Sandy Hook peninsula, administered by the NPS as a unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, the past several Septembers have seen a local BioBlitz effort coordinated with the Hook-based nonprofit American Littoral Society — and for 24 hours beginning Friday, September 23, “citizen scientists” from all walks of life are invited to be a part of this important annual wildlife census.

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SEA BRIGHT: POST-SANDY REBUILD DEBATED

sb boro hall 082316Crammed in beside desks in a gym repurposed as offices since Hurricane Sandy, dozens of residents attended the meeting. Below, the proposed police, fire and first aid building would include borough offices on the second floor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Rendering by Settembrino Architects. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

BOROUGH of SEA BRIGHT Municipal EMS BuildingWith millions of federal dollars possibly at stake, Sea Bright voters debated Tuesday whether to take on the financial burden of rebuilding all of the town’s public facilities wiped out by Hurricane Sandy.

With a pivotal referendum scheduled for September 27, dozens of residents crowded into a gym that’s been co-opted for borough offices since the 2012 storm, largely in agreement that new facilities are needed, but split on costs.

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SEA BRIGHT: TOWN HALL ON REFERENDUM

sb parking 081916 3BOROUGH of SEA BRIGHT Library + Beach PavilionSea Bright residents are scheduled to gather for a town hall meeting Tuesday night to discuss a referendum on whether to bond for new public facilities to replace those destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012.

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RUMSON: DOGS ENLISTED IN RIVER CLEANUP

navesink rally 081116 1Clean Ocean Action founder Cindy Zipf addresses a ‘Rally for the Navesink’ audience at the First Presbyterian Church in Rumson Thursday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Their species has been implicated as a likely suspect, but dogs may also be helpful in solving the mystery behind recent alarming spikes in bacterial pollution levels of the Navesink River, environmentalists say.

Canines trained to detect the presence of fecal coliform bacteria have been used to sniff water samples taken from the river, Clean Ocean Action attorney Zach Lees told attendees at a “Rally for the Navesink” held in Rumson Thursday night. And next month, they’re expected to be deployed in Red Bank and Fair Haven, to try to track down land-based sources of the bacteria, which occur in the intestines of warmblooded animals: humans, their pets and wildlife. Read More »

SHREWSBURY: NAVESINK EFFORT UPDATED

sickels schuster 080416Red Bank Administrator Stanley Sickels, left, discussed sewer lines with the DEP’s Bob Schuster after the meeting at Shrewsbury’s borough hall Thursday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Hoping to curb high levels of bacteria associated with human and animal waste in the Navesink River, a New Jersey environmental official offered local mayors and environmental activists evidence of minor success Thursday night.

It involved horse manure.

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RED BANK: SENIORS GET DOWN AND DIRTY

rb seniors garden 071416 2rb seniors garden 071416 1Despite wilting heat and humidity, a group of seniors tended the newly installed raised-bed garden purchased by Councilwoman Cindy Burnham for the borough Red Bank Senior Citizens Center Thursday morning.

At right, 98-year-old Edith Blake checks the aroma on a sage leaf from the planter, where seniors have also planted tomatoes, taragon and basil. The planter is set up beside a picnic table so seniors can garden while seated, said Burnham. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: LUCARELLI BACKS JCP&L PLAN

ben lucarelli 042915 2Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli says the controversial transmission line may help his town avoid a repeat of the long outage experienced after Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli stepped onto a political third rail Tuesday, proclaiming his support for a controversial 10-mile long, high-voltage electricity transmission line that would end in Red Bank.

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RUMSON: RIVER HEALTH ISSUES DRAW CROWD

CINDY ZIPF 062816Clean Ocean Action founder Cindy Zipf addresses a packed Bingham Hall in Rumson, where the topic was degradation of the Navesink River. Below, a map showing areas where shellfish harvesting is prohibited. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Navesink suspension acreage 011016An alarming rise in bacterial pollution levels of the Navesink River drew more than 100 people to the historic Bingham Hall in Rumson on a humid summer night Tuesday.

Among many questions to be addressed were what’s causing a rise in fecal coliform levels, and how can it be stopped?

“We all know what the smoking gun is: stormwater runoff,” Christopher Obropta, a specialist in water resources with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension.  Read More »

RED BANK: LIVING SHORELINE HITS HARD STOP

WhatsGoingOnHererbpl bulkhead 061016 2The new Navesink River bulkhead at the Red Bank Public Library, as seen from the natural shoreline at Maple Cove. Below, a June, 1906 Red Bank Register article reported on Sigmund Eisner’s plans for the property, including the installation of a bulkhead. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

eisner bulkhead June 6, 1906

This month 110 years ago, the Navesink River site that would later become the home of the Red Bank Public Library was about to get its first bulkhead.

Over the ensuing century, such hard-stop bulkheads came to be regarded as a flawed means of protecting shorelines: less effective at blunting storm ravages than natural shores, and unfriendly to marine life. So when it authorized a controversial new bulkhead two years ago, the borough council relented to public pressure and asked that the replacement incorporate whatever elements possible to make it more like a so-called living shoreline.

In the end, however, the new bulkhead, completed this month. is pretty much the same as the old one.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL TABLES JCP&L STATEMENT

rb train station 062216 3The 10-mile high-capacity power line would run above the Red Bank train station on new, taller pylons and terminate a few blocks south at a power substation, according to JCP&L. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Red Bank council tabled a resolution Wednesday night opposing a proposed 10-mile long, high-voltage electricity transmission line that would end in the borough.

Councilman Mark Taylor put the brakes on the measure when he said he hadn’t seen it before the start of the governing body’s semimonthly meeting and wanted a chance to do some research into the issues.

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RUMSON: NAVESINK POLLUTION ON AGENDA

rb navesink 071915A view of the Navesink River from the Red Bank Public Library. Below, a map of showing where shellfish harvesting is banned or suspended. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Navesink suspension acreage 011016Eighteen months after the the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection suspended shellfish harvesting in 566 acres of the Navesink River because of unacceptably high levels of fecal coliform, Clean Ocean Action plans to host a public meeting on the issue.

The Rumson event will offer an overview of the DEP’s rationale for the January, 2015 downgrade, attributed in park to stormwater runoff, and mark the release of a Clean Ocean Action report on bacterial pollution in the river, according to a press release by the Sandy Hook-based nonprofit. Read More »

RED BANK: HOTEL PLAN RETURNS, SORT OF

hampton inn 062016Architect Lou Silverstein with a rendering of the proposed hotel, at center above, as seen from the Middletown side of Cooper’s Bridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

The developer of a proposed Hampton Inn hotel that’s been mired in zoning reviews and lawsuits for five years returned to Red Bank’s planning board after an extended absence Monday night.

The purpose? An informal presentation. A “coming attractions” preview of amended plans, in the words of the board’s attorney. Read More »

LINCROFT: DOUBTS ON JCP&L PLAN REMAIN

JCP&L 060716 2Kyle King, an environmental health consultant to JCP&L, was surrounded by questioners at the event.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Plans for a 10-mile long, high-voltage electricity transmission line terminating in Red Bank drew dozens of concerned residents to an information session in Lincroft Tuesday night.

Dubbed the Monmouth County Reliability Project, the 230-kilovolt transmission line is needed to keep pace with demand for electricity, according to Jersey Central Power & Light.

But residents living along its path — the existing New Jersey Transit right-of-way between existing substations in Aberdeen and Red Bank — said they fear it will have harmful health effects and reduce home values.

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