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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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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SANDY HOOK: SUN SETS ON SUMMER ’17

It’s a big tent event, and a last chance to RSVP, as the Sandy Hook Foundation returns to the North Beach area of the peninsula Friday evening for the annual End of Summer Party fundraiser.

Granted, summer doesn’t officially sigh its last for a couple of weeks — and all those familiar with the rites of Local Summer know that there’s plenty of life after Labor Day here on the New Jersey Shore. But when the Sandy Hook Foundation declares the End of Summer, people take notice and listen — to the extent that the nonprofit’s annual “beach chic” outdoor benefit gala remains one of the most glittering events of the sand-in-your-shoes social calendar.

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SEA BRIGHT: OYSTER WRANGLERS WANTED

Workers with the American Littoral Society prepare to hang a bag of oyster shells off a dock at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank earlier this month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

The folks at the Sandy Hook-based nonprofit American Littoral Society are looking for a few good people — and an even greater number of enterprising oysters — as part of a summer-long research project known as Operation Oyster.

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SANDY HOOK: A FREE FUNDAY ON THE HOOK

The historic lighthouse at Sandy Hook is one of the man-made and natural highlights of Sunday’s Ocean Family Fun Day.

Closing in on Memorial Day weekend, which marks the return of entry fees at Sandy Hook, the folks at the Hook-based local chapter of the American Littoral​ Society are offering sightseers of all ages one last pre-season opportunity to enjoy the peninsula’s many natural and man-made wonders this Sunday.

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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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SANDY HOOK: RAMBLE, ANGLE AND STARGAZE

Jeff Dement of the American Littoral Society invites anglers of all ages and skillsets to a Surf Fishing Clinic, Saturday morning at the northern end of Sandy Hook.

There’s a rare opportunity to see a corner of the local coastline that’s usually off limits to public eyes; a tutorial in recreational surfcasting; opportunities to gaze at some heavenly bodies under cover of night; and a celebration of earthly treasures in creative expression.

And it’s all all happening in the days and evenings to come on the Sandy Hook peninsula.

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SANDY HOOK: GRASS PLANTERS WANTED

No fooling: on Saturday, April 1st, the folks at the Sandy Hook-based American Littoral Society will be planting dune grass — and everyone is invited to lend a hand.

Between the hours of 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Society will coordinate a “rain or shine” volunteer event in conjunction with their Beach Grasses in Classes program, involving students from area schools who raise and plant dune grass. The grasses play a big role in helping to stabilize beaches along the storm-battered coast; protecting the dunes that serve as barriers against flooding, and helping to prevent major erosion events.

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ON THE GREEN: WALK INTO THE NEW YEAR

labyrinth_uucmcAn indoor “labyrinth” walk at the Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse — and an outdoor excursion in the fresh and bracing air of Sandy Hook — offer opportunities for reflection and community on New Year’s Day.  

sandy hook sign 070415The resolutions that we make on New Year’s Eve may represent some bold and fearless talk, but in the cold light of New Year’s Day, it’s not always so easy to walk that walk.

Fortunately, some forward-thinking neighbors on the Greater Red Bank Green are inviting all members of the community to start 2017 off on a good foot or two.

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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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ON THE GREEN: SPOOKY WALKS AND TALKS

FortHancockThe batteries and buildings of Sandy Hook’s Fort Hancock, above, are the setting for a nocturnal ghost-walk sponsored by the American Littoral Society Friday night. Middletown’s fabled “Spy House,” below, hosts a Thursday night lecture on the legendary Jersey Devil. 

seabrook-wilson-houseHere in this history-haunted neck of Olde Monmouth, the Halloween season offers several spine-tingling opportunities to share some of the more curious legends and lore of the Garden State, in settings that range from well-lit modern facilities to those shadowy corners just off the beaten path.

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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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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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SANDY HOOK: ZERO WASTE, MAX FAMILY FUN

Lisa Bagwell PizzaRecycled-materials sculptures by Lisa Bagwell are among the art works featured during the Zero Waste Arts Fest, going on September 17 and 18 at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook.

Press release from Monmouth County Arts Council

On Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, the Monmouth County Arts Council invites the public to take part in a weekend of free family fun — in which the arts intersect with the wonders of our local environment — during the inaugural Zero Waste Arts Fest (ZWAF).

Going on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the historic Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook, ZWAF represents a partnership  between Monmouth Arts and Gateway National Recreation Area Sandy Hook Unit. The event also marks the culminating phase of a larger Gateway to the Arts grant project, a $20,000 award that Monmouth Arts received from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2016, to honor both the 50th anniversary of the NEA and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

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ON THE GREEN: BOOMER, BEACH, BOOKS, BUCS

End of Summer PartyThe annual End of Summer Party (above) marks a big-tent bid of adieu for the Sandy Hook Foundation next Friday…while NFL great Boomer Esiason (below) visits Broad Street for a cocktail party fundraiser at Garmany.

Boomer EsiasonA late-summer sendoff out on the Hook…a BBQ kickoff to the gridiron season on the home-team turf…a star-studded celebration of life and fashion at a signature retailer…and a show of support for a hometown resource. All dedicated to raising funds for worthy causes, and all happening in the post-Labor Day interlude to come.

This coming Labor Day Monday, September 5 represents the deadline to reserve your ringside seat for the End of Summer — as declared by the nonprofit Sandy Hook Foundation in its annual casual-attire outdoor benefit gala, which returns on September 9 to the North Beach area of the Hook for a seasonal sayonara that commences at 6:30 pm. With tickets beginning at $150, proceeds benefit the Foundation’s ongoing preservation efforts as well as seasonal activities like the popular Free Beach Concert series, in addition to the environmental awareness and educational campaigns of the Fort Hancock-based American Littoral Society. Promised are “dancing under the stars” to live music from Swift Technique; a buffet dinner featuring seafood raw bar furnished by The Lusty Lobster, and an “amazing auction” of exclusive-experience getaway packages. Take it here for further details; here for tickets, and around the bend for more good deeds and good times.

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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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RUMSON: CLINGING JELLYFISH GONE FOR NOW?

navesink rally 081116 2A slide shown during a presentation on clinging jellyfish by Montclair State University marine biologist Paul Bologna. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Aside from the fact that they’re dime-sized and pack a truck-sized wallop in their sting, not a lot is known about clinging jellyfish. But a recent profusion of the creatures in waters in and off New Jersey has led to some insights, a marine biologist told a gathering in Rumson Thursday night.

One is that they’re a favored meal or sea nettles, larger jellyfish also known for their sting. Another is that, for this summer at least, the sea nettles may have eaten them all.

“They’re kind of gone for the season,” Paul Bologna, director of marine biology and coastal sciences at Montclair State University, told attendees at a Rally for the Navesink organized by Clean Ocean Action and other environmental groups and held at the First Presbyterian Church.

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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 »

ON THE GREEN: FUN UNDER THE SUN & STARS

rb movies park 072616 2Outdoor movie screenings and canoe rentals highlight a week of outdoor offerings in local parks.

Thompson Park canoePay no attention to those displays of back-to-school supplies, and put aside all thoughts of pre-season football, post-season baseball, and campaign-season roller derby. Yes, the summer of 2016 is still a thing (even at the Rio Olympics, where technically it’s winter), and the parks, beaches and portable stages of the Greater Red Bank Green still offer a plethora of open-air entertainments and recreational options in the coming days and nights — almost all of them free of charge.

It begins tonight, as Shore Flicks returns to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens with an 8:15 p.m. screening of a truly golden oldie, 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz.” Bring a canned food donation with those folding chairs and beach towels, pick up some cooling seasonal treats from Gracie and the Dudes, and enjoy Dorothy and the Dudes as they once again undertake the screen’s most memorable road trip. Follow Shore Flicks on Facebook or Twitter for up-to-the-minute information on weather-related cancellations or other schedule changes (including a recently added batch of fishy features at Sea Bright’s Municipal Beach) — then take it around the bend for more fun beneath the sun and stars.

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SANDY HOOK: CLINGING JELLYFISH TARGETED

clinging_jelly_newA closeup view of the clinging jellyfish (Gonionemus vertens), an invasive species from the Pacific Ocean that packs a painful sting. (Photo courtesy of  the American Littoral Society. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The clinging and stinging jellyfish that prompted the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association to cancel this summer’s River Ranger program is clearly something to be avoided.

Still, the American Littoral Society is hoping to get a closer look at the dime-sized creatures.

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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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