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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2010

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994

DEP'S CLEAN WATER EFFORT GARNERS NATIONAL AWARD

(10/P147) TRENTON –A program that keeps New Jersey's coastal waters clean by providing pumpout stations for sewage from recreational boats has garnered national recognition from a boaters' group, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.

The States Organization for Boating Access recently awarded the DEP Clean Vessel Act Program its Program Excellence Award in recognition of the work it is doing to protect and enhance water quality along the coast.

The DEP's Clean Vessel Act Program has 170 pumpout stations at marinas all along the Jersey coast, including many strategically stationed in the Barnegat Bay area, which also has a small flotilla of pumpout boats on patrol. This effort has removed and treated upwards of five million gallons of sewage since the late 1990s _ material that would have contaminated New Jersey's waters.

"This program plays an important role in the protection of New Jersey's waterways by giving boaters convenient options for properly disposing of sewage and wastewater," Commissioner Bob Martin said. "Governor Christie and I are working hard to improve water quality in New Jersey, especially in Barnegat Bay. This type of program makes a big difference in that effort.''

Keeping the state's coastal waters clean is vital to marine ecosystems and to the state's $40 billion tourism industry. There are about 180,000 recreational boats registered in the state. Every year, fishing provides enjoyment for more than 800,000 people, while providing a $1.4 billion dollar boost to the state's economy.

"We will not allow the beauty and value of our waterways to be compromised; the waters must be carefully protected,'' Commissioner Martin said. "Discharges from boats can affect water quality, harm public health, close shellfish beds and swimming beaches.''

The CVA Program stations are mostly financed by federal grants, through the federal Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which is derived from excise taxes on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, and import duties. Matching funds are provided by New Jersey's "Shore to Please" license plate fund.

Ocean and Monmouth counties also play an important funding role in the pumpout boat fleet in the Barnegat Bay and Sandy Hook/Raritan Bay areas, with the strong support of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey.

The Clean Vessel Act Program, approved by Congress in 1992, provides grants for the construction, renovation, operation, and maintenance of pumpout stations and waste reception facilities for recreational boaters, and for educational programs that inform boaters of the importance of proper disposal of sewage, while encouraging boaters to use pumpouts.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service provides overall administration of the program, which is overseen in New Jersey by the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife. But it also is a collaborative effort of many participants from public and private agencies and organizations.

Representatives from the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Marine Trades Association of New Jersey, Monmouth County Health Department, N.J. Sea Grant Consortium and the Ocean County Planning Department make up the Clean Vessel Act Steering Committee, which handles pumpout applications, contracts, budget and funding issues, information and education programs, and program guidance.

"The Clean Vessel Act grant program helps keep our coastal and inland waters clean and safe for recreation by safely disposing of millions of gallons of boaters' sewage annually," said Alberto Ortiz, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Northeast Region CVA Coordinator. "The New Jersey CVA Program serves as a good example to many other states."

Boaters can obtain a free guide which shows locations of all New Jersey's pumpout stations by contacting New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife's CVA Office at 856-785-2711.

For more information on the Clean Vessel Act Program, visit:
http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/subpages/grantprograms/CVA/CVA.htm

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Last Updated: December 22, 2010