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The premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and announcements in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Apr 06, 2017

Rally for the Navesink

By Lori Draz

On March 8, Rally for the Navesink held it monthly meeting at the Viola Sickles School in Rumson. The topics of the meeting were using the pump-out boats and the state of the oyster restoration projects in our area.

Cindy Zipf of Clean Ocean Action welcomed the crowd and introduced the first speaker, Christopher Merkel, public health coordinator and officer at the Monmouth County Health Department. Mr. Merkel shook off the chilly temps, reminding everyone that boaters will be back on the water in no time and the use of pump-out boats is essential for water quality protection. He discussed the history of the pump-out boat, The Royal Flush, and the details on using this free service. His portion of the presentation concluded after Monmouth County Freeholder Jim Curley got up to encourage the audience to put pressure on his fellow freeholders to assign funding for the purchase on a second pump-out boat, saying that he is willing to fight tirelessly to see a second boat added. Boaters in the watershed were reminded of the damage boat waste can do to the river.

Next came the presentations on the importance and impact of bringing oysters back to the Navesink. That section was led by New York/New Jersey Baykeeper Executive Director Debbie Mans and Restoration Director Meredith Comi, who discussed the key role of oysters, primarily in creating a healthy environment and secondly as a food source. They discussed seeding programs in the Navesink River and the bay area, highlighting the decline of oysters in the estuary, as well as their hopeful return.

If you are interested in viewing the meeting, you can see the video at the Rally for the Navesink Facebook Page. Rally for the Navesink is an alliance of groups, businesses, and citizens dedicated to improving and maintaining water quality in the Navesink River watershed through research, education, and policy. The alliance was formed by Clean Ocean Action in 2016 in response to a downgrade of more than 500 acres of shell fishing area due to pollution from sources that include urban and agricultural stormwater runoff and failing infrastructure.

Rally for the Navesink is coordinated by Clean Ocean Action, who has been organizing public meetings, source tracking efforts, and pursuing regulatory and policy tools as well as education and outreach in the watershed. The next meeting will focus on a citizen water quality monitoring program for the Navesink watershed to be implemented this spring.

Rally for the Navesink includes representatives of Clean Ocean Action, American Littoral Society, Bayshore Regional Watershed Council, Fair Haven Sailing Club/River Rats, Hartshorne Woods Association, Monmouth Conservation Foundation, Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, Navesink River Rowing, Navesink Shrewsbury River Fishing Club, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Oceanport Waterwatch, Pirates Care, Recreational Fishing Club – NJ Chapter, Riverview Medical Center, Shrewsbury Yacht Club, and Sierra Club – Shore Group.

If you would like to become involved, please contact info@CleanOceanAction.org.