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: 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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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: SHORED UP, BATTENED DOWN

The collision between coastal development and severe weather in New Jersey and elsewhere is the subject of the documentary “Shored Up,” screening for free this Saturday at Holy Cross School.

As filmmaker Ben Kalina tells it, “I made Shored Up to explore what it means to live beside the beauty of the ocean — where, as we saw with Hurricane Sandy, we are always just one storm away from catastrophe.”

Filmed in late 2012 and 2013 on locations along the Jersey Shore and the North Carolina coast, the documentary feature hits close to home — and with a Category 5 wallop — for local residents who experienced firsthand the unprecedented and still-lingering effects of the superstorm that marks its second anniversary next month.

This Saturday evening, September 20, Holy Cross School in Rumson hosts a free screening of the film, a public-welcome event that includes a discussion with the director and panel of local coastal and environmental scientists.

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SHORING UP SUPPORT FOR COAST’S FUTURE

Shored UpThe documentary film SHORED UP, which examines the collision between coastal development and severe weather in New Jersey and North Carolina, will be shown September 20 at a special screening in Rumson.

Press release from New Jersey Future

On the evening of Saturday, September 20, New Jersey Future — a nonprofit organization which is working with Sea Bright and Highlands on long-term recovery planning in the wake of Hurricane Sandy — will sponsor a free public screening of the documentary feature Shored Up in Rumson.

Doors open at 6:30 pm for the screening, scheduled for 7 pm at Holy Cross School, 40 Rumson Road. At the conclusion of the film there will be a panel discussion and question-and-answer session, featuring the film’s director Ben Kalina, as well as several local coastal and environmental scientists.

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TEDx NAVESINK: A NEW WAVE BREAKS AT BCC

kaki-king_detail_feature1-530x281Next-gen guitar god Kaki King is the special musical guest at the first-ever TEDx Navesink: The Next Wave conference coming to Brookdale on Friday.

By TOM CHESEK

The way that Brian Smiga sees things, it’s an idea whose time had come — even before the arrival of a thing called Sandy.

“All of us here on the Shore recently experienced a big event that disrupted our lives,” says the native Rumsonite, software entrepeneur, actor and venture capitalist. “There’s really no time like that, no moment like this one, to plan for the next 20 years and beyond.”

The future of what Smiga calls “the country Shore” — in particular the Bayshore, Atlantic coastline and “Two River” areas of Monmouth County — is the primary topic this Friday, when the first-ever TEDx Navesink event comes to the Performing Arts Center at Brookdale Community College. The daylong ideafest features more than two dozen short lectures by innovators in education, technology, science, sustainability and the arts, who “will give the talks of their lives during 5-to 18 minute presentations that focus on their contributions, thoughts and vision for the future of the New Jersey Shore,” according to the promo lit.

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CASE OF ALLEGED TREE ‘MURDER’ CONTINUES

35-nav-rumsonConstruction of a 5,000-square-foot home is underway on the Navesink Avenue site that neighbors claim was improperly clear-cut. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A dispute between neighboring property owners over the removal of trees from a Rumson building site took on the air of a trial Monday night.

But the planning board wrapped up a three-hour hearing without a verdict… er, decision… on whether borough officials allowed builder John Tsakiris to get away with a wholesale tree “murder,” as alleged by neighbors Rick Jones and Cindy Zipf.

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TREE ‘MURDER’ ALLEGED IN RUMSON

c-zipfCindy Zipf, right, shows residents photos of her neighbor’s property, which she says was clear-cut of its trees. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The quest by a Rumson couple to prove that local officials negligently allowed the “murder” of numerous trees on a residential building lot drew a packed house of lawyers, experts and crestfallen neighbors to Monday night’s planning board meeting.

With their appeal of tree-removal permit granted by Frederick André, the borough’s tree conservation officer, Clean Ocean Action founder and executive director Cindy Zipf and her husband, Rick Jones say they hope to win an acknowledgment that mistakes were made and stricter enforcement of a tree-protection ordinance.

A lawyer by their side, Zipf and Jones paged through a sheaf of documents showing, they argue, that the property next door to their home at 37 Navesink Avenue was the site of a “murder of trees” that violated the ordinance.

The alleged slaughter could have been prevented had André, who is also the planning board’s secretary, properly done his job, they say.

“The tree conservation officer failed to implement basic procedures. The tree conservation officer allowed a clear-cut at 35 Navesink Avenue,” said Andrew Provence, a lawyer with Ansell, Grimm and Aaron. “What happened at 35 Navesink is plainly a clear-cut. To call it anything else is an insult to this borough, this board, my clients and the people of Rumson.”

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RUMSONITES BARK AT TREE TAKEDOWN

doug-spencerShade Tree Commission Chairman Doug Spencer shows residents a piece of a tree Tuesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven officials aren’t quite out of the woods yet when it comes to adapting to changes to the borough’s tree preservation ordinance. And now, they have a little company.

On Tuesday night, Rumson’s council suddenly found itself in the middle of a thorny debate over the efficacy of its tree preservation law after a Navesink Avenue property’s tree population was decimated last week, residents said.

Change to the ordinance and bolstered enforcement are likely, council members said.

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