DEP OFFERS NEW MOBILE SPORT FISHING PERMIT AT NORTH BRIGANTINE NATURAL AREA IN ATLANTIC COUNTY, WITH TIMING RESTRICTIONS
LIMITED ACCESS WILL HELP PROTECT ENDANGERED SHOREBIRDS
(17/P124) TRENTON – Mobile Sport Fishing permit offerings will be expanded for the 2018 season to include the North Brigantine Natural Area, allowing visitors the same vehicle and user guidelines as those offered at Island Beach State Park and Corson’s Inlet State Park, the Department of Environmental Protection announced today.
The Mobile Sport Fishing Permit is valid only for recreation related to fishing, and will be the only valid permit for public vehicle use in the North Brigantine Natural Area. The closest public access to the natural area is at East Beach Avenue and 14th Street North in Brigantine. While the City of Brigantine offers its own permit, which was previously valid in the Natural Area, in 2018 the city’s 4-wheel drive beach permits will no longer be applicable to the Natural Area.
Permits for the 2018 calendar year will be available for purchase beginning Friday, December 29, and will cost $50 for New Jersey residents and $75 for non-residents. Visitors may call Bass River State Forest at (609) 296-1114 for purchasing information.
“In a February 2017 meeting, DEP notified Brigantine City that starting in 2018, the city’s 4-wheel drive beach permits will no longer be valid in the state-owned Natural Area,” said Rich Boornazian, Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “We value our continued partnership with the City of Brigantine and thank them for their efforts related to North Brigantine Natural Area. It is DEP’s responsibility to protect valuable ecological resources while allowing recreational uses of the area.”
To help minimize environmental impact to the area, DEP will sell a limited number of permits and allow a maximum 75 vehicles access to the natural area’s beach within each 24-hour period, for fishing only. In addition, vehicle access will be prohibited in all or a portion of the Natural Area due to endangered shorebirds from May 15 (or when the first plover nest hatches, whichever comes first) to September 15. The affected areas will reopen in time for the fall fishing season.
DEP restricts access to the natural area for all motorized recreation during a portion of the breeding season for endangered bird species such as piping plover, and during stopover periods for the red knot. Pedestrian access is open year round for birdwatching, strolling the shoreline, and fishing.
“For the past several seasons North Brigantine Natural Area has consistently been a productive nesting site for endangered shorebirds,” said Mark Texel, Division of Parks and Forestry Director. “Its remote wildness, beauty, and most importantly its utility as a nesting habitat for our native breeding beach nesters makes North Brigantine Natural Area a treasure of our New Jersey coastline.”
A public information meeting is planned in February to announce management strategies for the North Brigantine Natural Area. The meeting date and location will be posted on the Division of Parks and Forestry’s website at www.njparksandforests.org.
The North Brigantine Natural Area features an unmanicured natural beach and an adjacent unmodified inlet, a habitat preferred by many beach nesting birds. These birds lay eggs directly on the sand and brave predators, wind, rain and tides, as well as human disturbance, to raise their young.
The federally listed animal and plant species found at the North Brigantine Natural Area include piping plover, red knot and seabeach amaranth. State imperiled species include least tern and seabeach sandwort. DEP protects these species under the Federal Endangered Species Act, state Natural Areas and Natural Areas System acts, state Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act and state Endangered Plant Species List Act.
Together with the adjacent federal sites of Holgate and Little Beach, which are two parts of the expansive Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, the combined area is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island beach along the New Jersey coast, totaling 9.75 miles.
The Natural Area System was created in 1961 and the North Brigantine Natural Area was added to the system in 1967 as a conservation preserve with a management objective of “preservation of salt marsh habitat, coastal dune, and rare species habitat.” Use of the area is limited to the oceanfront.
To learn about beach nesting birds in New Jersey, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensp/beachnester_info.htm and www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensp/redknot.htm
For more about Bass River State Forest, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/bass.html
North Brigantine Natural Area is administered by Bass River State Forest, 762 Stage Road, Tuckerton NJ 08087. For more information, call (609) 296-1114.