RED BANK: CONCERNS AIRED OVER LEAD TESTS

red bank community garden 081219Caution tape signaled the closing of the Marion Street garden in August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njUsers of Red Bank’s community garden questioned the borough government’s sense of urgency Wednesday night about the presence of lead in soil at the town’s only community garden.

 

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RED BANK: CONTAMINATION SHUTS GARDEN

red bank community garden 081219Caution tape and notices at the entrance to the community garden on Marion Street Monday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank has shut down its sole community garden out of “an abundance of caution” over possible lead contamination, the borough government announced Monday.

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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: EATERIES SPOTLIGHT STRAWS

Kitch Organic on Leighton Avenue, above, is one of eight Red Bank restaurants participating in a monthlong effort to reduce the number of plastic drinking straws that don’t make it into the recycling stream.

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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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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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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: 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 »

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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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 »

RED BANK: REMOVING ‘CRAP’ LEFT BY OTHERS

Boris Kofman, above, and Michael Paul Raspanti, below, during Saturday’s riverfront cleanup on Red Bank’s West Side. (Photos by Wil Fulton, above, and Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Duane Bowker stood in the wooded area above the Swimming River in Red Bank and pointed.

“Some roofer, this is his favorite place to throw his crap – and drink beer,” he said. “Over here is a plumber’s favorite place to throw his crap.”

The occasion was Saturday’s cleanup effort by members of the borough Environmental Commission and the environmental nonprofit Clean Ocean Action. They teamed up to tackle a riverbank full of tires and construction debris at the western end of Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

VOLUNTEERING: TWO RIVER CLEANUPS SLATED

Our beautiful Navesink, as seen from Marine Park in Red Bank Wednesday evening. (Photo by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Done2This weekend, area residents will take to the water as part of two individual cleanup events in an effort to keep the Navesink River beautiful and litter-free.

Those who are proud to call Red Bank and Rumson home based on the river’s picturesque expanse are asked to give a couple hours’ worth of time and exertion in order to protect it.

Both events are rain or shine, except in the case of thunder and lightning. All volunteers must wear closed-toed shoes; unlike a beach cleanup, volunteers may have to walk through bushes and shallow parts of the river to retrieve garbage.

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REPORT OF WASTE OFF FAIR HAVEN DISPUTED

A sewerage authority representative said a line on the Fair Haven beach near the Shrewsbury River Yacht Club, in background, is slated for replacement but is not leaking. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Mark Lockwood spent the night on his boat at the Shrewsbury River Yacht Club in Fair Haven Friday, and woke to the sight of a Navesink River gone brown. The worst kind of brown, he thought.

Though it didn’t smell, it appeared to be human waste, he said.

“It was disgusting,” he told a Fair Haven police officer who’d come to the club to investigate Saturday evening. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve been on this river all my life.”

Ben Hamilton, whose home abuts the club property, said he had never seen anything like it, either.

But whatever they saw, it wasn’t from the town’s sanitary sewer, said an official with the regional sewerage authority that serves the borough. And it may have been pollen.

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NO TAKERS FOR TAINTED PROPERTIES

ls-texaco-060710The former Hunter’s Texaco station and the onetime home of the Wicker Rose, in background, failed to attract any bids at a bankruptcy auction Tuesday. (Click to enlarge)

Three Little Silver properties put up for auction as part of the wind-down of the massive Solomon Dwek bank fraud case failed to attract a single bid Tuesday.

The adjoining properties — a former Texaco station, the former home of the Wicker Rose furniture store and a small house, all at the juncture of Willow Drive and Sycamore Avenue — have significant underground contamination issues resulting from fuel leakage from the filling station and other sources.

The absence of bids was “not exactly what we were looking for,” said Ray Smith, of Stafford Smith Realty, which managed the auction on behalf of a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee. “But in light of the environmental conditions there, it’s not a big surprise.”

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