EDUCATION AND RECREATION
THROUGH DEP'S INNOVATIVE URBAN FISHING PROGRAM
(04/66) TRENTON - The Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that
its successful Harbor Estuary Urban Fishing program is
underway again this year in various locations throughout
New Jersey. The four-day program teaches children about
the link between water quality and human health through
classroom instruction and hands on contact with local waters.
"Students have fun and learn to fish while learning
about the complex and fragile nature of the state's urban
waterways," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "DEP's
urban fishing program empowers children to take personal
responsibility for protecting their environment."
The Harbor Estuary Urban Fishing program, now in its eighth
year, grew out of the department's fish advisory outreach
program that included participation from community groups.
Children ranging in ages from 14 to 17 spend the first
day in the classroom learning about environmental protection.
The three-day field portion of the program includes a
litter clean-up project, a water monitoring eco-cruise
and the highlight of the program, a fishing excursion which
focuses on ethics and conservation. The program also includes
a storm drain marking program that can help municipalities
fulfill their stormwater permitting requirements.
The urban fishing program fosters urban environmental
stewardship and provides useful public information, key
elements in addressing potential environmental justice
concerns. On February 18, 2004, Governor James E. McGreevey
signed an Executive Order calling for increased distribution
and education of fish advisories in underserved communities
and low income communities.
Newark, Bayonne, Carteret, Jersey City, Elizabeth and
Kearny are currently participating in the program with
the help of various local groups. The Hackensack Riverkeepers
Association, the Greater Newark Conservancy and the Bayonne
Municipal Utilities Authority are a few of the partners
that have joined forces with the Department since the program
began in 1996. This year, the Hackensack Riverkeepers Association
received a $20,000 grant from DEP's watershed program to
help coordinate the program and conduct some of the sessions.
In order to measure the effectiveness of the program,
before and after surveys are given to participating students
to determine whether the learning objectives have been
met. Prior urban fishing program surveys show that participating
students gain significant knowledge about fish consumption
advisories and human health, watershed identification,
non-point source pollution, public trust and personal responsibility.
To learn more about the Harbor Estuary Urban Fishing Program,
visit the Department's website at: