DEP ENCOURAGES BOATERS TO BE AWARE OF
ECOLOGICALLY SENSITIVE AREAS OF BARNEGAT BAY
ONLINE MAPS AVAILABLE FOR GREENER NAVIGATION
(15/P58) TRENTON –With the summer boating and tourism season kicking into high gear, the Department of Environmental Protection is reminding boaters to use caution while navigating ecologically sensitive areas of Barnegat Bay.
The reduction of impacts from boats and personal watercraft within Barnegat Bay’s critical ecosystems, including wetlands, aquatic vegetation, shellfish and fish habitats, is part of the Christie Administration’s comprehensive plan to protect and restore the bay.
“Barnegat Bay is one of New Jersey’s most cherished locations and it offers great recreational opportunities,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “But we ask for help from the boating community in protecting the ecologically sensitive areas of the bay.”
An online interactive map for boaters, which can be accessed on mobile devices and computers, is available so they can easily ascertain the locations of 16 designated ecologically sensitive zones on Barnegat Bay. Users also can find helpful services such as the locations of marinas, sewage pump-out facilities, bait-and-tackle shops, launches and ramps, restrooms, and places to dispose trash.
To view the map, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/plan-watercraft-map.htm
The green boating effort is being done cooperatively with the boating and fishing industries in New Jersey, which are vital to the economic and recreational needs of the state.
“We work to preserve and protect our natural resources and provide boaters with the information and tools they need to do their part.” said Melissa Danko, Executive Director of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey. “Spending summers on the water and enjoying all that New Jersey’s waterways have to offer is a way of life for so many residents and visitors. That is why it is so important that we work together to protect these natural resources for this and future generations.’’
Barnegat Bay's 75-square-mile, environmentally sensitive estuarine system is home to plants, fish and other wildlife that populate these areas in the bay. They contain submerged aquatic vegetation which acts as nursery grounds for fish and wildlife. Motor boat propellers and turbulence caused by boat wakes can disturb and harm these special areas.
Continued green boater outreach efforts include additional distribution of green boater posters to marinas and public access areas along Barnegat Bay.
The DEP encourages boaters to take these actions to help keep the bay vibrant:
- Stay out of restricted areas set aside for wildlife.
- Do not harass nesting birds and other animals
- Maintain a 100-foot distance from natural shorelines
- Minimize wakes in all shallow areas to help reduce erosion and harm to aquatic plants and animals
- Buoy mooring chains and lines to prevent them from scraping on the Bay bottom and harming submerged aquatic vegetation
- Appreciate wildlife from a distance
- Reduce air pollution by not idling in open water
For more tips on how to become a green boater and reduce your impact to Barnegat Bay and other state waters, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/docs/BoaterESA.pdf
You can also reference the Clean Boating tip sheets for boaters through the Clean Marina Program: http://www.nj.gov/dep/njcleanmarina/boaters.htm
For more information on the Barnegat Bay Action Plan, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/barnegatbay/