CLEANER WATER RESULTS IN THE UPGRADE OF 6,848 ACRES
OF SHELLFISH WATERS
State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn today announced
that 6,848 additional acres of state waters soon will be open for shellfish
harvesting, marking the 13th consecutive year that continuing improvement
in water quality has allowed expansion of areas where shellfish may be
"The continued expansion of our shellfish harvesting waters is a clear
and reliable yardstick of our progress in improving water quality. These
openings are the result of combined efforts to upgrade wastewater treatment
plant operations and reduce nonpoint source pollution," Shinn said during
a ceremony at the Riverfront Landing Park on the Barnegat Bay in Toms
The proposed reclassification will bring the total acreage available
for shellfishing to 592,222, or 87.9 percent of the state's coastal waters,
"This is good news for New Jerseyans," said Gov. Christie Whitman. "It's
another indication that our water is cleaner - there will be 13,750 more
harvestable acres in 2001 than in 1994. Our clean ocean water is another
reason why New Jersey is a great place to live, work and raise a family."
The areas to be upgraded are: 5,132 acres in Barnegat Bay, 1,294 acres
in the Atlantic Ocean off of Atlantic City, and 422 acres in the Shrewsbury
River. (insert some reasons why water quality has improved)
The Shrewsbury River, along with Monmouth County's three other rivers,
- the Shark, Manasquan and Navesink - have been approved by DEP and EPA
for No Discharge Zones for boat sewage. DEP approved No Discharge Zone
applications this year for Barnegat Bay and the Hudson River which are
awaiting EPA final approval.
"New Jersey is the only state in the 24-state Interstate Shellfish Sanitation
Conference that has consistently had more waters upgraded than downgraded
each year for the past 13 years," Shinn said. "The continued upgrade is
particularly remarkable considering that population growth has been steady
in the state's coastal counties during this time."
New Jersey has the highest amount of shellfish acreage in the nation
and harvests the most shellfish, more than 75 million pounds each year.
(more) add 1, shellfish
Other ongoing clean water initiatives include the watershed management
program to establish regional plans to control nonpoint source pollution,
such as runoff from development and agriculture, by working with local
organizations. DEP also is working with municipalities and the Environmental
Infrastructure Trust to replace combined sewers in older towns and reduce
stormwater overflows. New Jersey has one of the most advanced ocean monitoring
programs in the nation and has reduced the number of beach closings over
the years due to improved water quality.
Three shellfish harvesting areas are being downgraded in Barnegat Bay,
totaling 280 acres. This is due to unknown sources of nonpoint pollution.
DEP is accepting public comment on the proposed reclassification, which
will be published in the Dec.18 NJ Register. The proposal is scheduled
to take effect March 5, 2001.
Maps showing the reclassified areas may be viewed on DEP's web page at:
(Check under its "News" link.)