RED BANK: DEP SAYS RIVERS SAFE FOR HUMANS

A cluster of dead bunker in the Red Bank borough marina at Marine Park earlier this month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA massive die-off of bunker fish in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers this spring poses no health threat to recreational users of those waters, environmental scientists said Thursday night.

Meantime, experts are still trying to determine what environmental “stressors” might have turned a bacteria that’s common to the species into a mass killer that has littered shores with tons of dead, putrid carcasses.

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RED BANK: FORUM ON FISH KILL SLATED

A cluster of dead bunker in the borough marina at Marine Park earlier this month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Clean Ocean Action and local officials, including Red Bank’s, will get the virtual town hall with New Jersey environmental officials they’ve been seeking to address the recent “severe” fish kill in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers, the organization announced Friday.

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RED BANK: TOWN HALL ON FISH KILL SOUGHT

Fish carcasses on the shoreline at Maple Cove in Red Bank Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials this week called on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to host a virtual town hall meeting to address concerns about a fish kill the agency has called the “most severe” in recent memory.

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FAIR HAVEN: THREE RIVER PROJECTS SLATED

The municipal boat ramp at Battin Road. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Upgrades to Fair Haven’s public boat launch and two pocket parks overlooking the Navesink River may be set in motion by the borough council Monday night.

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RED BANK: FISH KILL ‘MOST SEVERE’ OF LATE

Dead menhaden cluster at a Navesink River dock in Fair Haven last week. (Photo by Bernie McSherry. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA massive fish kill in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers in recent weeks is “the most severe mortality event in recent memory,” but New Jersey environmental officials still don’t know why it’s targeting only one species, Clean Ocean Action reported Thursday.

The environmental advocacy group also pressed the state to remove at least some of the dead fish from Red Bank-area waters.

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RED BANK: MENHADEN DIE-OFF IN SPOTLIGHT

Dead fish littered the Fair Haven boat launch on Battin Avenue last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Clean Ocean Action has called on New Jersey environmental and health officials to hold a virtual town hall to provide updates and guidance for towns along the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers, where massive menhaden die-offs have occurred recently.

“The cause, extent, and magnitude of the die-off is deeply concerning and raising alarm throughout the region,” COA executive director Cindy Zipf and staff scientist Swarna Muthukrishnan wrote Friday. “Feeding the concern is the lack of answers, conflicting answers, and lack of proactive response to the ever-increasing dead fish.”

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FAIR HAVEN: WITCHES’ WHIMSY ON THE WATER

About two dozen witches swapped their brooms for self-propelled watercraft in the Navesink River off Fair Haven Saturday.

The aim of the “somewhat impromptu” coven convening was to “to bring a bit of whimsy and fun to an otherwise tricky (no pun intended) and difficult year,” said Rachel Griffin, who organized the event with Cassie Conley. Inspired by a Witch Paddle that takes place in Mystic, Connecticut, Griffin said she and Conley hope to make it an annual outing for charity.

Check out more photos below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN MAKEOVER IN SIGHT

christine ballard red bank nj bellhavenConsulting engineer Christine Ballard details the Bellhaven plan for the council last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After years of revisions, and no small amount of controversy, changes to the Bellhaven Natural Area in Red Bank could be completed by this summer, officials said last week.

Once again, the project has been scaled-back from a version of a plan that called for a spray park and triggered loud protests four years ago, they said.

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN PLAN SCALED BACK

Trees were taken down recently at Bellhaven Natural Area in preparation for an observation deck being built there, according to Business Administrator Ziad Shehady. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials have quietly started prep work for a project at a site once mired in controversy: the Bellhaven Natural Area overlooking the Swimming River.

The end result, however will be a “scaled-back” version of a plan that once called for a spray park and triggered loud protests three years ago.

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RUMSON: NAVESINK QUALITY IMPROVES

A view of the Navesink from Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank last month. Below, Bill Heddendorf of the New Jersey DEP discusses the need for additional testing along the Spring Street storm sewer line in Red Bank. (Photo above by Trish Russoniello, below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

An effort to reverse biological contamination in the Navesink River is “working,” and could result in the reopening of closed shellfish beds a year earlier than previously expected, a New Jersey environmental scientist told a gathering in Rumson last week.

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RED BANK: SUNSET PARK CONCEPT TO DEBUT

The so-called Sunset Park concept plan includes a soccer field, riverfront boardwalk, kayak launch and other amenities. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank residents will get their first look Monday night at a concept plan for a new park on the town’s long-closed landfill site overlooking the Swimming River.

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SANDY HOOK: BE IN ON THE BLITZ

Students of all ages and their family members are invited to participate in the annual “BioBlitz” census of species on Sandy Hook, hosted by the American Littoral Society on Friday.

[CORRECTION: The original version of this post reported the event is occurring Saturday. It’s on Friday.]

It happens every September, around the ocean and bay beaches, coves, trails, and forested areas of Sandy Hook — and for 12 hours beginning Saturday morning, “citizen scientists” of all ages are invited to assist a team of naturalists in the annual census operation known as “BioBlitz.”

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RUMSON: MARINE SCIENCE CENTER PLANNED

A concept drawing of the proposed Monmouth Marine and Environmental Field Station, which would be built atop the existing sanitary sewer pump station in the background. The red star on the satellite photo below indicates the location. (Photo by John T. Ward, map by Google Maps. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A sewage pump station on the Navesink River in Rumson would serve as the foundation, literally, for an ambitious new marine science center announced in Rumson Tuesday.

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SEA BRIGHT: SNAPPY HOUR AT BEACHWALK

Bartender Erin O’Keefe makes a Long Island Ice Tea while customers, some still in beach garb, make themselves comfortable on the deck over the river. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Timing it just right, PieHole showed up for happy hour at BeachWalk’s Tiki Bar recently to find beers in hand and fishing poles in the Shrewsbury River for a snapper derby competition.

Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright has its fair share of bars, but this might be the only one where you’ll find children and adults competing for bragging rights and the prize of an overnight stay at the attached motel.
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SEA BRIGHT: BREAKFAST AT RORY’S PUB

The courtyard of Rory’s Pub on a recent Sunday morning. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

A sandwich board on the sidewalk of Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright informs us that Rory’s Pub is open for breakfast at 8:15.

“8:15?” we ask the owner, Tony Maher. In a brogue rooted in his childhood in Waterford, Ireland, he tells PieHole, “Give or take, it could be 8:16 or 8:17.”
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SANDY HOOK: GIRL DIES DAY AFTER RESCUE

sandy hook 061712Sandy Hook as seen from the Route 36 Captain Joe Azzolina Bridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

A 12-year-old Union County girl died Monday morning, less than a day after being pulled out of water at Sandy Hook, National Park Service spokeswoman Daphne Yun tells redbankgreen.

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SEA BRIGHT: HAPPY HOUR AT EVENTIDE

Eventide Grille, tucked behind a marina, is a favorite of locals at happy hour. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Sea Bright is all hustle and bustle during the summer, so hungry and thirsty beachgoers zipping along Ocean Avenue might might not notice Eventide Grille, which isn’t even visible from the street. Locals, on the other hand, are well aware of this gem of riverside restaurant and watering hole tucked in behind the Navesink Marina.

PieHole stopped by on a breezy weeknight to rub elbows with a happy hour crowd that for the most part arrived on foot.
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SEA BRIGHT: BACK TO THE BEACH @ DONOVAN’S

One of three bars at Donovan’s Reef is a thatched roof tiki bar.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Flip-flop wearing beachgoers can now drink their beverage of choice at any of three separate bars within the confines of the newly re-built Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright. PieHole recently paid its first visit to the sprawling party palace since its resurrection from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

And is this the Jersey Shore? Swaying palm trees and ocean views could easily have your thinking you’re on a tropical vacation.
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SEA BRIGHT: BACK IN THE SKIM OF THINGS

The summertime edition of the annual Skimbash tournament returns to the waters just off Sea Bright, this Saturday and Sunday. (File photo by Peter Lindner)

Although at first glance the array of aerial leaps, spins, and acrobatics have more in common with skateboarding than with surfboarding — and the sometimes slapstick finishes to the maneuvers have the spills running neck-and-neck with the thrills —  there’s little doubt that the event known as  SkimBash is sufficiently serious to attract polished competitors from many hundreds of miles away.

There’s serious prize money at stake, too, when the nationally sanctioned summer edition of Skimbash returns to “the pristine beach and consistently good wave conditions” of the Sea Bright shoreline, for a two-day stay this Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25.

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RUMSON: OCEANIC MAKEOVER BEGINS ANEW

Todd Thompson, seated at center, discussing bridge options with other attendees at the Rumson session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

What should be done about the crumbling Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown?

Area residents were offered dozens of options Tuesday as Monmouth County officials hit the reset button on an earlier process derailed by a change in federal regulations.

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