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NJ HAB Response Strategy Document

  Bureau of Freshwater & Biological Monitoring

Recreational Response Strategy
and Annual Summary Reports
Recreational Response Strategy

A formal Response Plan and communication strategy has been developed by multiple NJDEP,  NJDOH and NJDoA programs.

  • The 2021 Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Freshwater Recreational Response Strategy provides a unified statewide approach to responding to HABs in recreational waters and sources of drinking water and to protect the public from risk associated with these toxins.There are no content changes to the Strategy for 2022; guidance and thresholds remain aligned with current science. Amendments were made to the 2021 Strategy only to update web links and DEP staff changes.
  • Response Plan is a component of the Response Strategy and is designed to identify:
    • Entities responsible for response and actions, including various divisions within NJDEP as well as the NJDOH and the NJ Department of Agriculture (DoA)
    • Recreational risk thresholds for concentrations of pertinent toxins
    • Acceptable parameters and methods for assessing risk
    • Appropriate monitoring and analysis for toxins
    • Tiered Alert Levels
    • Background and technical information
    • Research needs
    • Outreach/ Education
    • Information on what to do if a person or their pet has been exposed to a CyanoHAB.
  • Freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams with potential public access, recreational use, licensed bathing beaches, and sources of drinking water.
  • Waterbodies may be owned by state, local, or private entities. Response will vary depending on ownership.
  • Direct drinking water concerns are addressed in the NJDEP Division of Water Supply and Geoscience (DWSG) Emergency HABs Response Plan.
    • Focuses on prevention and treatment of drinking water contamination, and applies to cyanobacterial HABs and toxins. DWSG will coordinate action per Plan.
    • For more information on drinking water, see the DWSG's website
Annual Summary Reports:

The Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Freshwater Recreational Response Summary Reports can found here:

A general fact sheet on Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms is available - click here.

A copy of our previous versions of the New Jersey Harmful Algal Bloom Response Plan & Comprehensive Strategy can be found here:

  • 2020

  • 2018

  • Photo Credit: NJDEP

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    Last Updated: April 18, 2023