RED BANK, NJ - It was an evening of environmental advocacy at NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Annual Award Reception & Wine Tasting as the Matawan-based nonprofit organization honored its former Baykeeper and Executive Director Debbie Mans, who was recently named Deputy Commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).

Also honored was Paul Rinear, Chair of the Aberdeen Environmental and Shade Tree Advisory Board.

The event, held Thursday, October 11, at the Monmouth Boat Club in Red Bank, celebrated the environmental efforts and advocacy of both award recipients.

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Before taking the helm of NY/NJ Baykeeper in 2008, Mans served as the Environmental and Energy Policy Advisor to former Gov. Jon Corzine and was later appointed to the New Jersey State Planning Commission. She also served as NY/NJ Baykeeper's Policy Director from 2002-2006.

Mans has worked with the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and has served on the boards of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters and New Jersey Future.

Rinear, who serves as Director of Information Technology at CMI in Tinton Falls, is a member of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Alliance and is involved in local environmental groups including the Bayshore Watershed Council, Sierra Club and Sustainable Jersey.

Mans noted the need for continued environmental advocacy.

“It is an honor to receive this award from NY/NJ Baykeeper,” said Mans. “I wish to thank the staff and board not only for the recognition, but also for their tremendous dedication to improving the environment for all of us. Now, more than ever, local action is so critical to protecting clean water.”

Rinear cited the loss of environmentally sensitive areas and climate change as some of the most crucial issues facing the Bayshore area.

 “I've lived in a forested area of Aberdeen my entire life,” said Rinear. “As children, my brother and I spent a lot of time in the woods catching frogs and picking blueberries. Now all the blueberry plants are gone as is most of the forest. I realized that the bulldozers don't stop unless the people that care take action. I am happy to receive this award from NY/NJ Baykeeper on behalf of my neighbors and friends who work so hard to save what's left.”

NY/NJ Baykeeper Board Chair Judge John D’Amico. Jr. lauded the honorees.

“During her decade of outstanding leadership as Executive Director, Debbie Mans has substantially advanced the NY/NJ Baykeeper's mission of protecting, preserving and restoring the Hudson/Raritan Estuary,” said D’Amico. “Her recent promotion to the position of NJDEP Deputy Commissioner is well-deserved and will greatly benefit the citizens of New Jersey. I also congratulate Paul Rinear of the Aberdeen Environmental and Shade Tree Advisory Board, the recipient of our ‘Mighty Oyster Award.’ NY/NJ Baykeeper greatly appreciates and values its collaboration with county and municipal governments and entities in the effort to improve water quality in the streams and rivers that feed the estuary."

NY/NJ Baykeeper CEO and Baykeeper Greg Remaud noted the many accomplishments of both honorees.

“Debbie Mans helped move NY/NJ Baykeeper from a firebrand upstart to a mature and credible advocate for Water Quality,” said Remaud. “Programs established by NY/NJ Baykeeper Andy Willner continued strong advocacy for clean water and undertook excellent policy work in these areas. We are thrilled that we have someone near the top of NJDEP with such strong policy background and dedication to ensure cleaner waters throughout New Jersey, including the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary which is so often neglected. Debbie brings to NJDEP an understanding of areas of state and urban environmental issues that are unrepresented.

Remaud continued, "Paul Rinear epitomizes what it means to be a local environmental leader. He knows the landscape, knows the issues and actively engages in cleanups and preservation projects. He knows his natural areas and shares information with township officials and the community at large. Paul has consistently been there quietly sharing information about wildlife and natural areas.”

About NY/NJ Baykeeper

The mission of NY/NJ Baykeeper is to protect, preserve and restore the ecological integrity and productivity of the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary. NY/NJ Baykeeper fights to protect the health of local waterways through advocacy campaigns, legal actions and boat programs. nynjbaykeeper.org

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