By JOHN T. WARD
Eighteen 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.The meeting is slated for Tuesday, June 28 at 7 p.m. at Bingham Hall in Rumson.
From the Clean Ocean Action announcement:
“This report summarizes the more than 40 years of numerous efforts to improve water quality in the Navesink River and provides a snapshot of the bacterial pollution issues in the river today. We hope that this document will provide a basis for discussion, and more importantly, action,” said Zach Lees, Clean Ocean Action’s Ocean Policy Attorney.
Additionally, COA’s meeting will showcase the NJDEP’s Source Tracking Plan and the Canine Environmental Service’s utilization of scent-trained canines to detect and track human waste in lakes, rivers, stormwater systems, streams and oceans.
The June 28th meeting is intended as a public gathering of local citizens affected by or interested in the state of the Navesink River. Prior to the Bingham Hall assembly, COA organized “Rally for the Navesink” a reunion of local environmental, state, municipal and academic groups, citizens, and local and state governments in order to move forward with a campaign to clean up the river and identify sources of pollution.
“Our goal is to inform the public about the condition of the Navesink River and launch a find it/fix it no-blame game citizen action campaign to reduce pollution sources,” stated Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. “The first step is to track down sources of pollution sources and we are excited to have the NJDEP conducting research, as well as specially- trained dogs to help sniff out pollution.”
To date, “Rally for the Navesink” includes: American Littoral Society, Bayshore Regional Watershed Council, Clean Ocean Action, Monmouth Conservation Foundation, Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, Navesink Shrewsbury River Fishing Club, NY/NJ Baykeeper, The New Jersey Chapter of the Recreational Fishing Alliance