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ON THE GREEN: NEW RECYCLING RULES

Starting next week, recyclables put out at the curb in plastic bags won’t be picked up in a number of Monmouth County towns. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Monmouth County municipalities are rushing this week to implement new rules to prohibit the use of plastic bags to hold domestic recyclables for pickup.

The change is being driven by China, Red Bank Business Administrator Ziad Shehady tells redbankgreen.

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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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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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RED BANK: NEW BELLHAVEN PLAN WINS PRAISE

The new concept plan for Bellhaven Natural Area includes an observation deck, similar to the one shown for illustration purposes above left; playground equipment; and a play area covered with a rubberized safety surface, shown in light green. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two years after residents gave a thorough hosing to a plan for a spray park in a West Side wetlands, Red Bank officials unveiled a new plan for the Bellhaven Natural Area Wednesday night.

This one got a warmer reception.

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RED BANK: NEW STINK OVER BELLHAVEN COSTS

A 2012 image outlines the extent of wetlands at Bellhaven Natural Area at the western terminus of Locust Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two years after abandoning a controversial “sprayground” proposed for the Bellhaven Natural Area, the Red Bank borough council is moving ahead with plans for a playground at the site.

At its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night, the council approved nearly $20,000 in additional engineering costs for the site, a move that prompted fresh objections.

“This is deja vu all over again,” said Bill Meyer, owner of a downtown commercial building. The borough has already spent $73,000  engineering fees on the site, and “that money was burned and wasted,” he said. Read More »

RED BANK: RIVER BACTERIA SOURCES LOCATED

Busted sanitary sewer lines in two locations along Marion Street in Red Bank were significant sources of bacteria winding up in the Navesink off Fair Haven, investigators said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Environmentalists and government officials have found two culprits, just yards apart in Red Bank, believed to be contributing to a spike in human waste bacteria in the Navesink River, they said Thursday night.

And the mystery could not have been solved without a trio of specially trained sniffing dogs, an ecstatic Clean Ocean Action leader Cindy Zipf told redbankgreen.

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RUMSON: RALLY ‘ROUND THE NAVESINK

Clean Ocean Action founder Cindy Zipf speaks at Bingham Hall during a June 2016 public meeting on degradation of the Navesink River. The nonprofit COA returns to the Rumson community center on April 27, for a followup forum on water quality monitoring and boat pumping stations.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

In 2016, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection condemned over 565 acres of shellfishing habitat due to bacterial pollution. In response, the nonprofit Clean Ocean Action established Rally for the Navesink — the name for an alliance of 32 locally based organizations, as well as for the series of events that the COA has conducted over the course of the past year.

On the evening of Thursday, April 27, Rally for the Navesink returns to historic Bingham Hall in Rumson — scene of a well-attended public forum in June of last year — for a “Find It, Fix It” presentation that seeks to provide information on pumping station facilities for boat owners, in addition to putting out a call to concerned citizens who wish to assist in the community-wide monitoring of water quality in the river.

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NAVESINK: BACTERIAL HOTSPOTS IDENTIFIED

rally-navesink-113016Zach Lees of Clean Ocean Action talks about tracking bacteria along storm sewers upland from Red Bank’s Marine Park Wednesday night.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Aided by a trio of specially trained sniffing dogs, environmental detectives have zoomed in on particular locations in three towns that may be at least partly responsible for a recent spike in bacteria levels in the Navesink River, they reported Wednesday night.

At the final Rally for the Navesink event of 2016 organized after a ban on shellfish harvesting from 566 acres of the river last February, a coalition of groups identified specific sites where leaking sanitary sewer lines or septic systems in Red Bank, Fair Haven and Middletown may be contributing bacteria from human waste.

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RED BANK: RIVER CONTAMINATION UPDATE SET

rb mbc 092214HOT-TOPIC_03Five months after the series began in response to a sharp increase in fecal coliform contamination, a final Rally for the Navesink event of 2016 has been scheduled. 

Organized by Clean Ocean Action and a handful of environmental advocacy groups, the periodic rallies began in June, attracting sizable audiences and offering both science-heavy updates on water quality and practical tips on keeping pollutants out of the waterway.

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CLEAN WATER EVENTS IN FAIR HAVEN, RUMSON

CINDY ZIPF 062816Cindy Zipf is pictured addressing a crowd at Rumson’s Bingham Hall on recent pollution issues in the Navesink River. The Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action returns to the borough on October 18, for a free public lecture event sponsored by the Rumson Garden Club.

From press materials furnished by Rumson Garden Club; Monmouth Conservation Foundation

The middle of October will see two free public-welcome discussions — one in Rumson, one in Fair Haven — that aim to furnish the public with updated information on the effort to address the pollution problem in the Navesink River, as well as provide tips on ways that individual residents and business owners can pitch in to help improve the quality of our area’s waterways.

On the morning of Tuesday, October 18, the Rumson Country Club is the setting for a special lecture entitled “Watershed Mindfulness: We Are All Connected to the Sea;” presented by Rumson Garden Club and featuring as guest speaker Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of the Sandy Hook-based nonprofit Clean Ocean Action (COA).

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RED BANK: JUST A COUPLE OF WORKING SNIFFS

sniffer-dogs-092116-1Scott and Karen Reynolds demonstrate the olfactory talents of Remi, right, and Sable (0bscured) in a conference room at Riverview Medical Center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The effort to solve the mystery of elevated bacteria levels in the Navesink River is now in the paws of real experts.

Two dogs trained to bark when they smell fecal coliform with a “human signature” have been working the waterfront in Red Bank and Fair Haven in recent days, helping environmentalists and officials source-track fecal coliform contamination, which spikes whenever it rains.

On Wednesday night, the four-footed detectives came to Riverview Medical Center to show several dozen onlookers how it’s done.

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RUMSON: SPOTLIGHT ON THE NAVESINK RIVER

Tyler Lubin Noah Tucker 062816Rumson-Fair Haven Regional students Tyler Lubin, left, and Noah Tucker will present their research at a public discussion of Navesink River pollution, hosted at Oceanic Library on September 22. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

The state of the Navesink River — a centerpiece of local life here on the greater Red Bank Green, and the subject of numerous news stories here in 2016 — will be the topic on the evening of Thursday, September 22, when Rumson’s Oceanic Free Library hosts a public-invited panel discussion and Q&A session on the recent environmental issues affecting the waterway.

As reported here and in numerous other recent stories on redbankgreen, unacceptably high levels of bacterial pollution prompted the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to issue a ban on the harvesting of shellfish from a significant area of the river — and spurred inquiries that included a public meeting presented by Clean Ocean Action (COA), a special conference of local mayors, and even an effort to employ canine helpers in determining sources of contamination.

The situation also commanded the attention of a couple of juniors at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School — and next Thursday at 6:30 p.m., Tyler Lubin and Noah Tucker will be sharing the research that they’ve assembled over the course of the summer, during the third and latest in a series of free community forums at the library.

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RED BANK: CLEAN NAVESINK PLAN URGED

navesink-anchor-field-090916The Navesink is safe for boating, but that’s a “low bar” for quality, the group told Red Bank officials in a letter. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A consortium of environmentalists, boaters and fishers is urging Red Bank officials to adopt measures to address recent spikes in bacterial contamination of the Navesink River.

As part of what it calls a “no-blame, find it, fix it” effort, the self-styled “Rally for the Navesink” group of seven organizations delivered a “letter to Red Bank” on the issue at Saturday’s Paddle the Navesink event at Maple Cove.

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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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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 »

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 »

FAIR HAVEN: STUDENTS FLOAT FILTER CONCEPT

lubin tucker 042616R-FH juniors Tyler Lubin, left, and Noah Tucker at the Fair Haven Dock. Below, a map of Navesink River waters showing areas where shellfish harvesting is banned or suspended. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Navesink suspension acreage 011016Alarmed by an increase in fecal coliform in their beloved Navesink River, two Fair Haven high school students are driving a campaign to head off the pollution.

Noah Tucker and Tyler Lubin, both 17-year-old juniors at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, are trying to raise funds for the purchase of storm-sewer filters, and to win the right from upstream towns to install them.

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RED BANK: MARINE SANCTUARY BLASTED

rb nms 031616 1With the basement meeting room already full, an overflow crowd gathered on the library’s main floor hoping to be allowed in Wednesday night. Below, the sanctuary would include Sandy Hook Bay, the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers and their tributaries. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD 

Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary 2The main proponent of a “marine sanctuary” that would include some 12,500 acres of northeastern Monmouth County waters found himself pounded by wave after wave of criticism Wednesday night.

With 75 or so commercial and recreational fishermen, clammers, hunters and others packed into a basement meeting room at the Red Bank Public Library, and a comparable number turned away due to crowding, maritime historian Rik Van Hemmen got a cold reception for his proposal for a Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which he hopes will win federal approval.

“We’ve got enough layers of bureaucracy,” Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, told Van Hemmen. “This is going down. We’re going to fight it.”

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ON THE GREEN: MARINE SANCTUARY PROPOSED

Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary 2An effort to create a “water-based equivalent of a National Park” covering Sandy Hook Bay, the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers and their tributaries is the subject of upcoming informational sessions, one of which is scheduled for Monday night.

If enacted by federal authorities, the Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary would  add more than 12,500 acres of public-use parkland to eastern Monmouth County, according to proponents. Among them are the Navesink Marine Heritage Association, whose website has extensive information on the proposal.

Tonight’s presentation is slated for 7 p.m. at Crawford House at Tinton Falls. The Red Bank Public Library plans to host another on March 16 at 7 p.m. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: BELLHAVEN SPLASH PAD SPUTTERS

bellhaven 110915An entrance to Bellhaven Natural Area on Locust Avenue. A proposed playground would be sited within the of loop the path shown above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A controversial plan for a spray park in Red Bank’s Bellhaven Natural Area has all but officially sputtered out.

The borough-owned riverfront lot at the western end of Locust Avenue is still envisioned as the site of a much-needed West Side playground, according to Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, the governing body’s liaison to the parks and recreation department.

But a spray park or a splash pad that shoots jets of water skyward? That’s done, she tells redbankgreen.

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