Danny Murphy, owner of Danny’s Steak House, led the meeting for the vacationing Rob Lowe, Executive Director of the NBG.
Spencer Munson, Program and Resource Coordinator for Clean Ocean Action (COA) was the speaker.
Munson spoke how COA was founded in 1984 in response to the offshore dumping that resulted in medical waste, sludge and general trash washing up on the beaches, resulting in a near collapse of the ecosystem near the coastal waters.
“The migratory patterns of the sea dolphins and whales pretty much avoided New Jersey because of the water quality, which resulted in the collapsing of tourism economy,” said Munson.
How things change.
Munson related how that now, New Jersey is an international tourism destination with that segment valued at almost $44 billion, with 60 – 70% of revenues coming from the coastal communities.
Back in the mid-80’s there was several specific dumping sites; medical waste, toxic sludge and wood burning (“Wood was placed on an old tanker, covered with kerosene, lighted on fire and shoved in the ocean,” explained Munson).
COA uses a three-prong approach; scientific research, education and citizen action. The organization approached businesses, Rotary clubs, Boy Scout groups and concerned citizens, and armed with scientific evidence, put pressure on legislatures letting them know that the dumping had to be stopped.
Munson said, “In the year 2,000, the ocean off NJ and NY was dump-site free for the first time in over one-hundred years. We’ve seen a great rebound in the ecosystem; seeing whales, dolphins, horseshoe crabs and plovers come back in large numbers.”
Their focus today is on microplastics and fecal contamination particularly in our surrounding rivers where volunteers take water samples for scientific analysis. The COA will then make suggestions to the local politicians on how to stop infiltration of these toxic elements.
Back in 2016, the Navesink River was downgraded by the DEP prohibiting shell fishing. To read a previous TAPinto article on the meeting results of a COA and “Rally for the Navesink” group (plus a video on the Poop Dogs!), click HERE.
Beach Sweeps has been COA’s must successful event where all types of groups get together to clean the beaches from “We just completed our Spring Beach Sweep and had a near record volunteer turnout.”
COA’s Fall Beach sweep is scheduled for Saturday, October 26th.
Lastly, Munson spoke about their “Watchdog” program for fossil fuel emissions. He discussed the natural gas lines that are being proposed to be run along the Raritan Bay. Placing the pipeline would require placing it 8 to 15 feet below the ocean floor surface. “All the toxins, PCB’s, heavy sulfates that are settled on the seafloor now have normal organic material settled over it. The pipe would churn that all up and our friends at the Belford Seafood Co-op said it would end their fishing season.”
Like enjoying our clean beaches and seeing the abundant wildlife there and in our rivers?
Jump on the Clean Ocean Action website and volunteer or make a donation!
What works? Networking works!
To join the Navesink Business Group, click Here.