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May 23, 2024

Contact: Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Vincent Grassi (609) 984-1795


(24/P020) TRENTON –New Jersey’s shore and lake communities are summer-season ready for visitors, Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette said today during the State of the Shore event in Asbury Park that followed his annual observation flight ahead of Memorial Day weekend. The Commissioner also encouraged visitors and residents to be mindful of the health effects of extreme heat this summer, a growing concern as climate change impacts worsen.

Memorial Day Open“Visitors are the backbone of our tourism economy and can look forward to enjoying outstanding beaches and excellent water quality,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “Our DEP team works closely with local governments to ensure a safe and enjoyable season for millions of residents and visitors. It’s going to be another fantastic summer in New Jersey, so let’s get outside and have a great time but stay safe and take precautions to minimize potential health effects of heat.”

The annual State of the Shore event updates the public on the status of beach readiness and coastal water quality. The event is sponsored by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, which is made up of academic institutions and organizations from across the state dedicated to coastal and marine research, advancement of science-based policy, as well as education and outreach. State of the Shore has taken on even more importance as New Jersey addresses the adverse impacts of climate change, including increasingly hot summers.

Due to a changing climate, New Jersey is warming at a faster rate than the global average and any other state in the Northeast. Consequently, heatwaves are expected to become more frequent, impact larger areas and last longer. In response, the State created Heat Hub NJ, which provides key information on extreme heat’s impacts on daily life and the environment, the risks it poses to human health and well-being, how to identify those particularly vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat, and how to stay safe in the heat. The site also includes an interactive mapping application called Chill Out NJ that identifies cool places to escape the heat.

Northern Lakes

Memorial Day OpenThe DEP earlier this week helped kick off the summer season for lake communities in northern New Jersey. On Saturday,  Commissioner LaTourette and Assistant Commissioner for Watershed and Land Management Kati Angarone attended the annual Lake Hopatcong Block Party in Hopatcong State Park, Morris County. During the block party, they discussed ongoing initiatives to monitor and ensure water quality at the beloved and economically important northern lakes.

“As the largest lake in the Garden State, Lake Hopatcong is an important economic and recreational resource for North Jersey. This was abundantly clear after Lake Hopatcong experienced the worst Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) in its history in 2019 – not only was this a public health hazard, but it also had a devastating effect on the local economy and morale of the surrounding community,” said U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill. “I am proud to have worked alongside the Lake Hopatcong Foundation and Lake Hopatcong Commission to collaborate on long-term solutions for the lake, including securing grant funding to mitigate HABs and taking initial steps to implementing sewers in Jefferson Township. These investments will help keep this community a vibrant place to live in and to visit, and I look forward to a fun and busy summer for the Lake Hopatcong community.”

“The Department is proud to partner with the Lake Hopatcong community to continue to prompt progress through a shared commitment to the ecological health of the lake, especially in a changing climate,” Assistant Commissioner Angarone said. “This dedicated community serves as an excellent example of the power of coming together to protect a treasured resource.”

“Our public lakes are some of New Jersey’s greatest resources,” said Marty Kane, chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. “As the largest, Lake Hopatcong offers an amazing array of opportunities for fishermen, paddlers, swimmers and recreational boaters. The lake is full and looking forward to a great season at Hopatcong State Park and at the numerous lakefront restaurants, marinas and recreational locales. Why not visit Lake Hopatcong or one of New Jersey's other public lakes this summer?"

Coastal Beaches

“The State of the Shore press event serves as a forum for coastal experts to come together and assess the health of New Jersey's shorelines post-winter,” said Sea Grant Consortium Executive Director Dr. Peter Rowe. “Through insightful discussions led by esteemed figures like Dr. Jon Miller, Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, and Laura Kerr, the public gains invaluable forecasts on beach conditions and storm potentials crucial for navigating the upcoming 2024 summer season.”

Memorial Day OpenDr. Miller is a Coastal Processes Specialist for New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, a Research Associate Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology, and Director of the Coastal Engineering Group at Stevens.  Laura Kerr is a Coastal Resilience Specialist for the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and a Senior Research Engineer at Stevens.During the State of the Shore event today, Commissioner LaTourette said that beaches are ready for the influx of visitors but noted that much of the East Coast experienced harsher winter storms this year than in the recent past. Overall, New Jersey’s beaches fared well, though the storms did exacerbate erosion in some areas, he noted.

In many instances, sand that washed off beaches was transported just offshore and will gradually migrate back onto the beaches over the summer, according to the State of the Shore report authored by Dr. Miller and Stevens Institute of Technology graduate student Emma McCann.

The Murphy Administration, in partnership with local and federal partners, has implemented a comprehensive approach to coastal resilience planning and adaptation. A key part of this strategy is providing protection to communities through robust dune and beach construction and nourishment projects managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The DEP works closely with communities to ensure that they have the information and regulatory tools they need to maintain beaches and dunes between regularly scheduled Army Corps of Engineers nourishment projects.

Water Monitoring

The DEP also partners with local health agencies to conduct weekly bacterial water sampling of ocean, river and bay beaches from mid-May through September as part of its Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program. In addition, the program conducts flights of the coastline six days a week and select lakes once a week to check for any water quality concerns. Information about the status of beaches and water quality along the coast is available at The DEP also provides an interactive map providing information on lake harmful algal bloom (HAB) alerts as well as lake flight data at

Memorial Day OpenThe Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program is one aspect of the comprehensive New Jersey Beach Monitoring Program which evaluates water quality; conducts aerial visual assessments of coastal waters and shoreline conditions; tracks chronic water quality problems in partnership with DEP’s Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring and local health authorities; and, through the Clean Shores Program, removes floatables and other debris from tidal shorelines to enhance the beauty of natural resources, protect wildlife habitats, and provide safer navigation in state waterways.

Last year, the Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program collected and analyzed 3,844 ocean, bay and river water quality samples. There were no exceedances of the bacterial standard at ocean or river beaches and only three such closures at bay beaches. Hancock Beach along Barnegat Bay in Seaside Heights, Ocean County, accounted for the three bacterial exceedances and three of 12 bay advisories. There were 26 ocean advisories, nearly half of which were on Aug. 8, 2023, following heavy rain.

Advisories and closures are rare, generally occurring after heavy rainstorms that can carry nutrients and bacteria in runoff from pet waste and wildlife such as gulls, geese and other warm-blooded animals into recreational waters. Bay and river beaches that do not have good natural circulation are more likely to experience closures.

The most significant impact on water quality at recreational bathing beaches continues to be nonpoint source pollution transported by stormwater and discharging through outfalls to waterways, which can increase bacteria concentrations near stormwater outfall pipes. The Coastal Cooperative Beach Monitoring Program will continue source tracking projects to find and eliminate nonpoint source pollution impacting recreational bathing beaches.

In addition, the DEP’s efforts to combat non-point source pollution include the state rules and guidance for stormwater management, development and implementation of Long Term Control Plans to address CSOs, and 319(h) Water Quality Restoration Grants to mitigate Nonpoint Source Pollution.

Visitors can get up-to-date information on all water sampling results and beach notifications by visiting The public can use this website to get beach status information (open, under advisory or closed), reports, and fact sheets, as well as a link to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website to purchase a Shore to Please license plate.  Proceeds from the sale of these plates fund the work of the New Jersey Beach Monitoring Program.

Follow @NJBeachReport on X (formerly Twitter) for daily updates on the status of New Jersey beaches during the summer.

Follow NJDEP Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP, Facebook @newjerseydep, Instagram @nj.dep and LinkedIn @newjerseydep

NJDEP Photos/Top: State of the Shore, Asbury Park; Middle top: Lake Hopatcong Block Party; Middle bottom: Commissioner LaTourette coastal observation flight; Bottom: Island Beach State Park lifeguard