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September 22, 2005

Contact: Karen Hershey
(609) 984-1795

Manasquan Inlet Oil Spill Prevention Plan Tested

(05/114) MANASQUAN INLET -- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), along with federal and local officials, tested an emergency response plan today to protect back bay coastal areas near Manasquan Inlet in Ocean and Monmouth Counties from a major oil spill.

“Hurricane Katrina, and the catastrophic oil spill on the Delaware just a year ago, highlight the importance of preparedness and rapid response. Along with the U.S. Coast Guard, State Police and our county and local emergency management partners, New Jersey DEP is prepared to respond and protect our precious coastal environment from the threat of oil spills,” said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell.

Today's exercise is the seventh booming drill. The oil spill prevention plan is part of an overall strategy developed by DEP for the state's 13 coastal inlets. DEP deployed more than 5,000 feet of deflection booms based on computerized Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping. Corncobs were used to simulate the flow of oil. The drill will be evaluated to determine the effectiveness of the booms to capture the oil considering the currents.

Manasquan Inlet is the gateway to the Manasquan River and the nearby Manasquan Wildlife Management Area. The Manasquan watershed encompasses 82 square miles and is home to a number of rare and threatened plant and animal species, forests and wetlands vital to migratory songbirds and waterfowl. The river is also a popular fishing ground for sea run brown trout.

The first test of the inlet emergency response plans was conducted in 1997 at the Great Egg Harbor Inlet in Longport with subsequent tests held at the Barnegat, Shark River, Cape May, Absecon and Corson’s Inlets. Future tests are planned for inlets at Beach Haven, Brigantine, Hereford, Little Egg, Townsends and Sea Girt.

The state's inlet protection effort was developed after the 846-foot long Bahamian-flagged Anitra spilled 42,000 gallons of Nigerian light crude oil into the Delaware Bay during a May 1996 storm. Injuries to the state's coastal environment occurred when tar balls formed and washed ashore along the New Jersey coast from Cape May to as far north as Island Beach State Park. The largest concentration of tar balls washed up on beaches in Cape May and southern Atlantic County where migrating shore birds feed and the federally endangered piping plover nests. The Anitra spill went through both the Hereford and Townsend Inlets.


NJDEP - Bureau of Emergency Response



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Last Updated: September 22, 2005