DEP SECURES MAJOR BARNEGAT BAY ENHANCEMENTS
AS PART OF FEDERAL REVIEW OF OYSTER CREEK LICENSE
(08/01) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection has secured a major habitat restoration and public-access enhancement project for Barnegat Bay as a result of the federal government’s process for the proposed re-licensing of the Oyster Creek nuclear generating station in Lacey Township, Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced today.
“The mitigation efforts we are requiring will benefit the bay tremendously by restoring degraded tidal wetlands and resulting in significant improvements to clam and oyster beds,” Commissioner Jackson said. “Equally important, this plan will dramatically improve public access to the bay through preservation of a large tract of bay front land that will be developed with a boat launch, nature center and walking trails.”
Plant owner AmerGen has agreed to preserve a 220-acre portion of the Finninger Farms site in Lacey. The company will enhance the land with construction of a boat launch, parking area for cars and boat trailers, construction of a nature center, and improvements to 5.4 miles of walking trails.
AmerGen will also restore 170 acres of tidal wetlands located near the Oyster Creek plant site. In addition, the company will restore 50 acres of hard clam beds within the Sedge Islands Marine Conservation Zone adjacent to Island Beach State Park and five acres of oyster beds at a location to be determined by the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.
As part of its license review for Oyster Creek, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires the DEP to conduct an analysis of the plant’s consistency with coastal management rules. Among the factors the department must consider are protection and potential enhancement of natural resources, maintenance of energy facilities, and protection of the welfare of coastal residents and visitors.
Commissioner Jackson stressed the generating station will still need a New Jersey Pollutant Discharge System permit for the operation of its cooling system. A permit review is under way.