Protect Environmentally Sensitive Areas in the Bay
In 2012, DEP designated sixteen Ecologically Sensitive Areas within Barnegat Bay. The Ecologically Sensitive Areas are unique locations where substantial Submerged Aquatic Vegetation beds and wildlife are found. These areas provide shelter and feeding grounds for numerous species including shellfish, crabs, fish, and shorebirds. DEP funded research, conducted by Rutgers University and Rider University, indicating that additional protections to these Ecologically Sensitive Areas, similar to the protections afforded by the Sedge Island Conservation Zone (through Senate Joint Resolution No. 30 of the 209th Legislature of the State of New Jersey and DEP Commissioner Bob Martinís Administrative Order No. 2014-09) could have positive impacts for blue crabs, shellfish, and Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (Jivoff, 2016).
- Actions: Work with stakeholders to identify additional Ecologically Sensitive Areas and ensure enforcement of existing Ecologically Sensitive Areas.
- Lead: DEP - Division of Fish and Wildlife, Division of Water Monitoring and Standards, and Division of Science, Research and Environmental Health
- Partners: Marine Trades Association, Personal Watercraft Industry, Marine Fisheries Council, ReClam the Bay, Friends of Island Beach State Park, Ocean County, Save Barnegat Bay, and American Littoral Society