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The Journal magazines are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Dec 31, 2021

Resolve to Protect Nature in the New Year

By Lori Draz

Monmouth County is alive with so many natural places to visit, enjoy and protect. With Monmouth County’s 27 miles of ocean shoreline, 26 miles of bay shoreline and four major rivers (Navesink, Shrewsbury, Shark, and Manasquan), Monmouth is 30 percent water. So why not make this the year you do more to protect them?

In addition, the county has more than 10 percent (42,111 acres) of public open space, which attracts a lot of visits from the county’s 619,000 residents and the thousands of out-of-town visitors – and means more pollution to the land and waterways. 

If you would like to take action to keep the local waterways clean, it all starts with education, which is available from a number of area organizations. 

The Jersey Shore Partnership is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization that is New Jersey’s leading advocate for state and federal funding to protect and preserve New Jersey’s 127-mile coastline that annually generates a $20 billion tourism economy and brings in millions of federal dollars in a cost-sharing partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Navesink Maritime Heritage Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving knowledge and appreciation of Monmouth County’s maritime heritage and the ecology and respectful use of the waterways. 

Clean Ocean Action is always working to improve and protect natural resources and make them livable for wildlife and people. From reports and results to improved policies and ordinances to protect waterways and communities, these organizations are taking direct action to ensure our natural spaces are healthy and functional. 

People can help these organizations and the resources they work to protect by attending events and participating in programs such as the popular and inspiring Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps to learning some at-home ways to reduce impacts on the environment. You can attend the Rally for the Waterways meetings to hear from local experts about water quality and other pressing environmental issues. The Rally for the Waterways meetings are Thursdays, Jan. 27, March 31, May 26, July 28, Sept. 29 and Nov. 17.

In addition, a new year provides opportunities to break old habits. Clean Ocean Action suggests reducing the use of single-use plastics, as well as conserving energy, using less water and making more eco-friendly purchases. According to Clean Ocean Action, “Regarding plastic pollution, a recent new report released by the well-respected National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine affirms the United States of America as the leading contributor to the plastic waste problem in the global ocean. The report calls for initiatives to reduce the plastic waste and ways to track and monitor it. In New Jersey, a new statewide law goes into effect in May 2022 that bans plastic carry-out shopping bags, bans paper bags at large grocery stores, and requires plastic straws be distributed to customers upon request. These minor behavioral changes will reduce plastic litter on our beaches, in our waterways and in our communities.”

This year, reconnect to the beaches, the parks, the waterways and trails, and to healing power of nature. Enjoy them, respect them and protect them all.