MIDDLETOWN, NJ  – Debbie Mans, Executive Director of the N.Y/N.J. Baykeeper headquartered in Keyport, will report on the health of New Jersey and New York bays, especially Raritan Bay, at 6:30 p.m., Monday, June 25 at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft. The presentation, open to the public, will include the college’s students and the members of the N.J. Friends of Clearwater and the Jersey Shore (Monmouth) Group of the Sierra Club.

Mans also will discuss the ups and downs of her organization’s disputes with the NJDEP over Baykeeper’s attempt to determine if ecologically important oysters, whose beds were decimated by overharvesting and pollution, can be repopulated in Raritan Bay.

The DEP, having been criticized by the USEPA, shut down the Baykeeper’s effort to reintroduce the oyster. The DEP claimed that if poachers illegally took the oysters from the bay’s polluted waters, the contaminated oysters could make people ill and jeopardize the state’s entire shellfish industry. The U.S. Navy came to Debbie’s rescue, which she shall relate in full.

Debbie’s presentation will complement a recent presentation on the health of marine estuaries by Clyde Mackenzie, senior researcher at the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory (NMFS/NOAA) at Sandy Hook.

Raritan Bay had been an extremely rich and productive marine habitat until land-based pollution and habitat destruction in the latter half of the 20th Century contaminated its pristine waters and harmed or killed many marine species. State and federal pollution controls have improved the bay’s water quality, but the state recommends not eating fish caught in its waters and prohibits harvesting all shellfish.

The Baykeeper organization was formed in 1989 to work with state officials and citizens’ groups to end pollution in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary watershed, improve public access, conserve and restore public lands, restore aquatic habitats, discourage inappropriate development, and carry out public education. Its programs aren’t limited to the shorelines but extend inland throughout the Hudson-Raritan watershed, including a recent purchase of several wooded areas of wetlands along the Third River in Bloomfield.

At the Lincroft meeting, a cash buffet begins at 6:00 p.m. and Mans’ presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.

To get to the meeting at Brookdale, take Parkway Exit 109 to Route 520 West (Newman Springs Road, which becomes E. Main Street at the Lincroft campus). Take the traffic circle into the campus and follow the signs to the Warner Student Life Center (SLC), where the meeting will be in the Twin Lights Rooms 1 and 2. Use parking lot 7.  As you walk eastward towards the building complex, Warner will be on your left. If lot 7 is full, use parking lots 5 or 6. A campus map is at http://www.brookdalecc.edu/PDFFiles/MAPS/MAP_04_08.pdf .