DEP OPENS NEW EDUCATIONAL
DISPLAYS AT ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK
WITH PORTION OF OYSTER CREEK FISH KILL SETTLEMENT
(05/117) TRENTON -- Using $50,000 from a natural resource
damage settlement with operators of the Oyster Creek nuclear power
plant, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner
Bradley M. Campbell today announced completion of new interpretive
exhibits to improve educational opportunities for visitors at
Island Beach State Park.
"The expansion and improvement of Island Beach State Park's
public education program partially compensates the public for
lost use of this important fishery," said Acting Governor
Richard J. Codey. "The educational improvements to the park's
public areas enhance visitors' understanding of New Jersey's ocean
In September 2002, a surface water discharge at elevated temperatures
at AmerGen Energy Company LLC's Oyster Creek Generating Station
in Forked River, Ocean County, resulted in the death of at least
5,876 individual fish in Oyster Creek. Several species of fish
were affected, including striped bass, white perch, and Atlantic
"Coastal exhibits about areas like Oyster Creek help the
thousands of children and adults that visit Island Beach State
Park each year understand the ecological value of the resource,"
said Commissioner Campbell. "New Jersey's important recreational
fishery offers fun and thousands of job opportunities."
AmerGen's Oyster Creek facility violated its surface water discharge
permit that controls its use of water for cooling purposes. DEP
received a monetary settlement of $182,812 to compensate the public
for diminished use of the fishery as a direct result of the thermal
discharge at the Oyster Creek facility.
DEP used the funds to purchase new educational exhibits and media
for three primary interpretive areas at Island Beach State Park
in Ocean County. These areas include the Breezeway at the North
Pavilion, the Forked River 112 Interpretive Center and the Nature
Among the new interpretive exhibits and media installed are 220-gallon
and 175-gallon capacity aquariums, an ocean life touch tank, fiberglass
fish mounts, and aerial photographs of Sedge Islands, Island Beach,
and Barnegat Inlet.
Background on DEP Natural Resource Damage Program
Natural Resource Damage claims compensate the residents of New
Jersey for the injury and lost use of natural resources due to
contamination. Injuries can refer to both ecological injuries
to wetlands, wildlife, ground water or surface water and to human
use injuries such as the closure of a waterway to fishing, a beach
to swimming or an aquifer for use as drinking water supply.
DEP's preferred voluntary settlement track has resulted in the
settlement of natural resource damages at 360 hazardous sites.
The total preserved wildlife habitat and aquifer recharge area
is more than 4,000 acres.
In addition to land acreage preserved, DEP and the Attorney General's
Office have recovered approximately $30 million since 2002. DEP
uses this money to restore wetlands and endangered species habitat,
increase public access to natural resources, and protect and manage
resources injured by oil spills and hazardous waste sites. DEP
also is working with 95 additional responsible parties representing
about 850 sites that seek to voluntarily resolve their liability
for natural resource damages.
DEP prefers NRD settlements to include restoration work and resource
protection in lieu of payment of monetary damages. NRD claims
are separate from the costs associated with cleaning up contamination.
In the past three years, DEP and the New Jersey Attorney General's
Office have filed NRD complaints against 52 companies alleged
to have polluted 306 sites statewide. New Jersey's Spill Compensation
and Control Act makes any entity that has discharged hazardous
substances onto the land or into the waters of the state liable
for both cleanup and for natural resource injuries.