Inlet Oil Spill Prevention Plan Tested
(05/114) MANASQUAN INLET -- The New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP), along with federal and local
officials, tested an emergency response plan today to protect
back bay coastal areas near Manasquan Inlet in Ocean and Monmouth
Counties from a major oil spill.
“Hurricane Katrina, and the catastrophic oil spill on
the Delaware just a year ago, highlight the importance of preparedness
and rapid response. Along with the U.S. Coast Guard, State Police
and our county and local emergency management partners, New Jersey
DEP is prepared to respond and protect our precious coastal environment
from the threat of oil spills,” said DEP Commissioner Bradley
Today's exercise is the seventh booming drill. The oil spill
prevention plan is part of an overall strategy developed by DEP
for the state's 13 coastal inlets. DEP deployed more than 5,000
feet of deflection booms based on computerized Geographic Information
System (GIS) mapping. Corncobs were used to simulate the flow
of oil. The drill will be evaluated to determine the effectiveness
of the booms to capture the oil considering the currents.
Manasquan Inlet is the gateway to the Manasquan River and the
nearby Manasquan Wildlife Management Area. The Manasquan watershed
encompasses 82 square miles and is home to a number of rare and
threatened plant and animal species, forests and wetlands vital
to migratory songbirds and waterfowl. The river is also a popular
fishing ground for sea run brown trout.
The first test of the inlet emergency response plans was conducted
in 1997 at the Great Egg Harbor Inlet in Longport with subsequent
tests held at the Barnegat, Shark River, Cape May, Absecon and
Corson’s Inlets. Future tests are planned for inlets at
Beach Haven, Brigantine, Hereford, Little Egg, Townsends and
The state's inlet protection effort was developed after the
846-foot long Bahamian-flagged Anitra spilled 42,000 gallons
of Nigerian light crude oil into the Delaware Bay during a May
1996 storm. Injuries to the state's coastal environment occurred
when tar balls formed and washed ashore along the New Jersey
coast from Cape May to as far north as Island Beach State Park.
The largest concentration of tar balls washed up on beaches in
Cape May and southern Atlantic County where migrating shore birds
feed and the federally endangered piping plover nests. The Anitra
spill went through both the Hereford and Townsend Inlets.