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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7/2/02
02/50

Contact: Elaine Makatura
609-292-9289

COMMISSIONER CAMPBELL CELEBRATES NEW JERSEY BEACHES
Promotes Public's Right-To-Know and Beach Access

(02/50) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today joined with U.S. Senator Jon Corzine, U.S. Representative Frank Pallone and Belmar Mayor Kenneth Pringle to promote New Jersey's beaches and encourage the public to visit and learn more about the great Jersey shore.

At an oceanside event in Belmar, Commissioner Campbell highlighted the state's partnership with two organizations, Oceana and Earth 911, to provide the public with up-to-date beach water quality information and a map of public access points along the shore - information now available at www.njbeaches.org.

"For New Jersey citizens and visitors, our shores provide endless opportunities for relaxing and having fun with family and friends," said Commissioner Campbell. "I am committed to protecting our ocean waters and the public's right to know about beach water quality and right to access and enjoy our beautiful shoreline."

The Governor recently reaffirmed his commitment to protecting public access to our beaches when the State successfully reached an agreement with the Borough of Point Pleasant Beach to open to the public a beach area on the southern end of the borough that was previously closed and private. Attorney General David Samson announced this agreement on June 21.

New Jersey's shore is the state's most valuable tourist attraction and vital to the state's economy, recording more than $16.6 billion in travel-related expenditures in 2001.

By including in his 2003 budget $25 million for beach replenish projects, the Governor again showed his commitment to protecting our beaches, an integral part of the state's economy.

"New Jersey will continue to lead the nation in its beach monitoring and public notification program," said Campbell. "We are proud to be among the first states partnering with Oceana and Earth911 to make all our current beach access and water quality information readily available to the public."

In October 2000, the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act) was enacted under the leadership of the Clinton Administration and original bill sponsors like Representatives Frank Pallone and U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli. As a result of the beach act, New Jersey receives federal funding to support its Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program.

Under the state's monitoring program, the Department of Environmental Protection partners with county and municipal environmental health agencies to assess beach water quality by collecting samples each week from 187 ocean and 139 bay monitoring stations and analyzing them for fecal coliform. Every week, DEP transfers this information to the njbeaches.org website, which also contains updates six days a week from DEP' s aerial surveillance of near shore coastal waters.

"I am pleased to say that today all of our beaches are open and clean," added Campbell. "We will work to keep all of our beaches safe for swimming. But, we must also be prepared for those days when they are not. Our monitoring and public notification program will ensure that the public has the information it needs to still plan and enjoy a day at the shore even when some beaches may not be open."

All of the coastal monitoring information collected in this cooperative partnership assists the DEP and local environmental agencies in developing coastal zone management strategies such as land use planning and non-point source of pollution controls.

To address an ongoing pollution problem affecting our beaches, Governor McGreevey announced in May new steps to improve environmental conditions at Wreck Pond, a coastal lake in Monmouth County, that contains bacteria-filled silt. Water discharges from the pond to the ocean caused 35 of the 40 statewide beach closing that occurred last summer. DEP is working with the local borough to install new controls to prevent pollution runoff reaching the pond and improve the ocean outfall pipe that carries water from the pond to the ocean. New Jersey is also working with Representative Pallone to seek federal dollars to restore and dredge contaminated sediments in the Wreck Pond.

 

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