CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION KICKS OFF IMPROVED WATER QUALITY WEBSITE AS BEACH SEASON GETS UNDERWAY
REVAMPED WEBSITE PROVIDES REAL-TIME MAPPING OF MONITORED BEACHES
(14/P49) TRENTON – New Jersey’s beach season officially kicks off this Memorial Day weekend and monitoring so far points to another season of excellent water quality. This season the Department of Environmental Protection has launched a revamped coastal water monitoring website to include real-time mapping and data to make it even easier for the public to follow water quality testing.
“The coast looks great and we are ready for visitors,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said at the 12th Annual State of the Shore event in Asbury Park today. “We are proud to have one of the nation’s most comprehensive beach monitoring programs and also proud that New Jersey consistently ranks among the top states for beach openings. This new interactive map will provide a user-friendly way for the public to understand water quality at their favorite beaches.”
Water quality sampling started two weeks ago and results have shown that New Jersey’s beach water quality is outstanding. Coastal surveillance flights started on Monday and observers are carefully watching for issues, such as algae blooms and debris, which might affect water quality.
The DEP spearheads the Coastal Cooperative Monitoring Program, a joint state, federal and local partnership that routinely tests water quality at 217 ocean and estuarine beaches across the state. Last season, New Jersey’s beaches were open 99.9 percent of the time.
Ocean and bay beaches were closed a total of 88 times last season out of nearly 63,000 beach days (all monitored beaches multiplied by the total days in the monitoring season, from Memorial Day weekend through the week after Labor Day.) Of these, 76 were related to a precautionary rainfall closure policy at just four beaches surrounding one stormwater outfall in Monmouth County. Only four other ocean beaches were closed, all for precautionary purposes only.
The DEP has worked with Rutgers University to develop an interactive website and map that will show real-time status of monitored beaches. The updated www.njbeaches.org website allows the public to easily view and download water quality data and notifies the public of any alerts at beaches and shows the daily flight path and the chlorophyll data collected during the flights.
This enhanced website is designed to give beachgoers better access to a variety of information about the shore. The website includes access to a variety of reports, information about recent research, health risks, and shore-related links.