DOLPHIN EVICTION NEARS

NoaaNOAA officials on dolphin watch in the Shrewsbury River in late June.

Federal marine authorities say they are one week closer to implementing an effort to lure or drive visiting dolphins out of the Navesink River and toward the Atlantic Ocean.

We received this update late Friday afternoon from Teri Frady, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

NOAA’s ID and observation team surveyed the Navesink-Shrewsbury estuary
October 16 and 17, locating 10 dolphins in two groups that stayed mostly
in the vicinity of the Oceanic Bridge. The dolphins were observed
feeding and socializing, and so far 5 individuals have been positively
identified from the group monitored earlier in the summer.

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BRIDGE WORK QUIETED FOR DOLPHINS

HighlandsseabrightbridgeThe Highlands-Sea Bright (Route 36) Bridge, as seen yesterday from the deck at Gaiter’s Restaurant in Sea Bright.

Pile driving and other loud work on the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge now under reconstruction has been quieted to enhance the possibility that two dolphins seen just south of the structure earlier today might make a dash for Sandy Hook Bay, according to a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Teri Frady, in an email update to reporters and others, writes:

This morning observers from NOAA and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center
confirmed two bottlenose dolphins in the Shrewsbury, nearing the
Highlands Bridge and five west of the Oceanic Bridge. Later, between 10
and about 11:30 AM, two were confirmed within 500 m of the Route 36
Highlands Bridge–possibly the same two from the Shrewsbury. [Update: later in the day, three more were confirmed in the Navesink, bringing the total believed to be in that river to eight.]

DOT is using a NOAA-approved observer from the Marine Mammal Stranding
Center when dolphins may be in the area. That observer has been
monitoring dolphins near the bridge today and reports that all
construction using pile driving and other high vibration operations is
being stopped while the dolphins are within a 500 m buffer zone around
the bridge.

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PRE-RACE CHILL-OUT

MusclebabesSunday’s Danskin Women’s Triathlon at Sandy Hook drew dozens of competitors — they were the ones with the indelible numbers on their biceps — to the streets of downtown Red Bank this weekend.

Among them were these women from Bergen County who stopped for ice cream at Häagen-Dazs on Broad Street Saturday night and showed off their well-toned muscles for redbankgreen’s photographer. (Photo is a composite image; click to enlarge.)

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EXPERT: DOLPHINS NEED TO LEAVE SOON

Rumson_dolphinsAfter feeding near the Oceanic Bridge since July 7, it’s time for the pod to go, says a marine biologist.

Wildlife experts should execute a plan to remove a visiting dolphin pod from the Navesink River or risk the animals becoming trapped inland by winter ice, a marine biologist tells the Asbury Park Press in an article published yesterday.

The water temperature will drop, the dolphins’ food supply will be leaving, and if they aren’t “removed” before winter, they will slowly but surely die, said Bob Schoelkopf, director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine.

The National Marine Fisheries Service, which has the final say on protecting the mammals, “had all summer” to figure out a plan of action for them, and now it’s time to implement it, he said.

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LIGHTNING VICTIM WAS FROM ELIZABETH

Authorities say the man who was killed by a lightning strike on Sandy Hook Sunday was a 38-year-old Elizabeth resident.

Two others, women in their 30s whose identities have also not been disclosed, were injured by the strike. They were reported to be in stable condition last night at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, according to the Asbury Park Press.

Down in Cape May County, four people were hospitalized after three lightning strikes within an hour. Two of the victims were hit on a beach, one was on an amusement pier, and one was in a parking lot, the New York Times reports.

A total of 12 people were struck by lightning in the New York-New Jersey region, according to various reports.

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ONE LIGHTNING VICTIM DEAD

The Star-Ledger reports that one of three people struck by lighting on Sandy Hook around noontime today has died.

The victims have not been identified, but the one who was killed is reported to be a man in his 40s.

From the Sledger:

Two other people, a man and woman both in their 30s, were also struck by lightning around the same time. They were taken to Monmouth Medical Center. Their conditions were unknown.

It was unclear whether the three were related, or even near each other when they were struck, [National parks Service spokesman Brian] Feeney said.

They were in “Beach Area B” on the southern end of the six-mile-long peninsula. The lightning strike happened on a beach where swimming isn’t allowed, with no lifeguards in the area.

Feeney said the beach was crowded but officials ordered everyone out of the water and off the grounds.

BEACHGOERS REPORTED HIT BY LIGHTNING

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Monmouth County and Sea Bright emergency personnel reported at 12:21p that three people were struck by lightning on Sandy Hook’s Beach B.

Emergency personnel from Highlands were reported at 12:45p to be enroute with two victims to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch. A third victim was being taken to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune.

We’ll have a fuller report once it becomes available.

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PRESS: SIX RESCUED OFF SANDY HOOK

The Asbury Park Press is reporting the rescue of six boaters after their vessel sank one mile off Sandy Hook yesterday afternoon.

According to the story, a good samaritan and the crew from and a crew from Sea Tow, a commercial salvage company, responded to a marine radio report of a vessel taking on water.

Together with a U.S. Coast Guard crew out of Sandy Hook, the two vessels pulled six people from the water, the Press reports, citing the Coast Guard as its source.

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