Rumson, NJ – Another standing room only crowd attended the 2nd Rally for the Navesink public meeting on August 11, 2016, at the First Presbyterian Church of Rumson to hear presentations about the status of pollution and jellyfish in the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers. Coordinated by Clean Ocean Action, Rally for the Navesink is a growing alliance of 14 organizations, businesses and citizens uniting to clean up the river. Attendees also heard from local groups about their water quality testing programs and how they are helping to track down pollution.
Dr. Paul Bologna, Director of Marine Biology and Coastal Sciences at Montclair State University began the meeting by presenting the status of his NJDEP-supported research on the invasive clinging jellyfish. "We collected 30-45 (clinging jellyfish) in an hour in 2-3 feet of water in Monmouth Beach," reported Dr. Bologna. "We need to isolate the source for next year's bloom. By taking DNA swabs under people's docks we can address where there is a high concentration and isolate the problem."
Bob Schuster, Chief of the NJDEP Bureau of Marine Monitoring, discussed the results of recent testing during dry and wet weather. Samples were collected hourly from low to high tide and back to low. In addition, two separate rain events were sampled pre-storm, 1st flush of storm water, and one and two hours after 1st flush. Schuster stated, "Anything we find in this area (Navesink) might work throughout the state." The results indicated a mix of waste from human, wildlife and domestic animal sources.
Zach Lees, Clean Ocean Action’s Policy Attorney released reports from the Environmental Canine Services “Ship and Sniff” samples. "Our results strongly support the DEP and Rutgers studies which show human indicators in areas of the river. This is just one step in addressing our total non-point source pollution problem."
The Navesink River is a NO DISCHARGE waterway, which prohibits boaters from discharging bathroom waste overboard. Debbie Mans, Executive Director of NY/NJ Baykeeper, reported that the Royal Flush Pump Out Boat, which operates on Fridays and Saturdays until October 1, has successfully collected 6,500 gallons of waste and chemicals from boats in the watershed. Mans also discussed their water testing program in the bayshore region to help identify problem areas.
Joe Stark from the Oceanport Water Watch reviewed their successful local water quality testing programs, one of the longest-running in the state and may serve as a model for the Navesink River watershed. Stark commented, "Knowledge is power and we share our results with the public which leads to a better informed community."
To wrap up the meeting, Clean Ocean Action announced that the dogs will be coming to NJ this fall to help track down human sources of pollution, as well as presented a multi-faceted citizen action campaign to engage all seven communities in the Navesink River Watershed. Activities will be coordinated on the Rally for the Navesink Facebook page. They include shoreline cleanups, jellyfish spotters, storm drain detectives, educational restaurant placemats, multi-cultural outreach and water quality testing.
In addition to Facebook, community members are also encouraged to access the Rally for the Navesink Google Drive Folder that contains important research documents, presentations and a fill-able form for volunteer interests. The link to this drive is located on the Facebook page, as well as on the home page of cleanoceanaction.org.
“This is exactly what the doctor ordered for the ailing Navesink River. The cure is numerous different actions targeting pollution and educating local citizens to help,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. “It won’t happen overnight, but together we can clean up the Navesink River so swimming is safe for families and fish…even after it rains,” she added.
Rally for the Navesink: An alliance of groups coordinated by Clean Ocean Action, including American Littoral Society, Bayshore Regional Watershed Council, Clean Ocean Action, Fair Haven Sailing Club/River Rats, Hartshorne Woods Association, Monmouth Conservation Foundation, Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, Navesink River Rowing Club, Navesink Shrewsbury River Fishing Club, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Oceanport Water Watch, Pirates Care, Recreational Fishing Alliance – NJ Chapter, Shrewsbury Yacht Club, and Sierra Club-Shore Group