DEP OFFERS TIPS FOR BOATING WITH CAUTION THROUGH ECOLOGICALLY SENSITIVE AREAS OF BARNEGAT BAY
FOLLOWING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY SUGGESTIONS FOR ‘GREEN’ NAVIGATION THIS SUMMER CAN HELP PROTECT THE BAY
(17/P68) TRENTON – The Christie Administration is continuing efforts to protect and restore ecologically fragile Barnegat Bay by asking boaters to navigate the waterway with caution to reduce the impacts of boating and personal watercraft on the most critical of ecosystems.
“Environmentally sensitive ecosystems within the bay, such as wetlands, shellfish and fish habitats, and aquatic vegetation, are at risk of impacts that come from boating and using personal watercraft,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “For that reason, it is vital that we work with the boating community to continue to protect Barnegat Bay’s fragile health while promoting the numerous tourism and recreational opportunities the bay provides to its visitors.”
Boaters can use an online interactive map on mobile devices and computers to locate 16 designated ecologically sensitive zones around Barnegat Bay. The maps also show the locations for marinas, sewage pump-out facilities, bait and tackle shops, launches and ramps, restrooms, and places to dispose of trash.
To view the map, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/plan-watercraft-map.htm
New Jersey’s boating and fishing industries also promote environmentally friendly boating practices to help protect the bay.
“As an industry, we work hard every day to preserve our natural resources and encourage boaters to be aware of their actions and impacts at all times and to do their part when out on the water, “ 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 not only for this generation but for generations to come.”
Barnegat Bay is 42 miles long and is very narrow, ranging from 1.2 miles to 3.7 miles in width. It is also shallow, four to five feet in most places. This makes the bay particularly sensitive to damage by boats and personal watercraft.
The waters of the bay support plants, fish and other wildlife. Ecologically sensitive submerged aquatic vegetation provides fish and wildlife habitat. Motor boat propellers and turbulence caused by boat wakes can disturb and harm these important plants. Shellfish can also be disturbed by these craft.
To help protect Barnegat Bay, DEP encourages boaters to follow these guidelines:
- Stay away from restricted areas set aside for wildlife;
- Do not harass nesting birds and other animals;
- Maintain a 100-foot distance from natural shorelines;
- Minimize wakes by slowing down in all shallow areas to help reduce erosion and harm to aquatic animals and plants;
- Use buoys to moor chains and lines to prevent them from scraping the bay’s bottom and disturbing submerged aquatic vegetation;
- Appreciate wildlife from a distance;
- Reduce air pollution by not idling boats or personal watercraft in open water.
To learn more about environmentally conscious boating, and reducing impact to Barnegat Bay and other state waterways, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/docs/BoaterESA.pdf
For clean boating tip sheets available to boaters through the Clean Marina Program, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/njcleanmarina/boaters.htm
For more information about the Christie Administration’s Barnegat Bay Action Plan, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/