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In 2014, The Natural Resources Defense Council rated New Jersey third worst out of 30 states for beach-water quality, based on water testing last year. The group reported that 3 percent of water samples from New Jersey exceeded national Beach Action “value” for designated swimming areas in 2013. That value is defined as 60 enterococcus bacteria colony forming units per 100 milliliters of marine water.
The Shark River Beach and Yacht Club beach, located on South Riverside Drive in Shark River Hills, across the river from Belmar, was ranked as the second most polluted beach in the state. A total of 20 percent of 20 water samples taken in 2012 tested high for bacteria; any rainfall in excess of 1 inch causes the beach to be closed. This small beach is along the Shark River, across from Belmar.
Additionally, Memorial Park Beach in Neptune City has been closed for over 25 years due to high bacteria counts and the L Street Beach in Belmar is closed when it rains more than .1 of an inch, due to high bacteria counts. Both of these beaches border the Shark River. That makes three beaches in different spots along Shark River with readings above accepted levels. That should raise some questions!!
The primary pollutants in the Shark River are E. coli bacteria, sediment particles, and fertilizer. In the case of swimmers, the DEP estimates on the current bacterial exceedance for human health standards is that a minimum of 37 out of 1000 people exposed to these waters will get an eye, ear, throat, nose or other infections caused by staph and strep pathogens as well as a chance of hepatitis and viral diseases. Also, due to excessive pollutants, the water is condemned for harvesting shellfish from the Shark River inlet unless a special permit from the State Department of Environmental Protection is granted for purification of the shellfish.
Would you want to swim,fish, or crab in it?
Among the potential health effects of swimming in polluted water are stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, meningitis and hepatitis. Stormwater runoff and sewage overflows are most often the cause of bacterial contamination of water. This can be the result of overdevelopment and too much impervious surface, as well as faulty outfall pipes.
Neptune City is working on a plan to remediate the area near Memorial Park beach, where a large outfall pipe is located. With a newly constructed boardwalk, and sand replenishment along the beachfront area, it would be wonderful to restore this beach to be open for swimmers again. Despite the obvious health concerns, visitors who are not aware of the potential pollutants in the water regularly enter the waters at Memorial Park, exposing themselves to the above health hazards.
Since water monitoring no longer takes place at SRBYC, we cannot say with any certainty what level of e. coli exists at any given time. However with increased sedimentation since Sandy, and no dredging occurring as of now to remediate some of the pollutants, those who frequent the river should exercise caution, especially when submerging below the ears, nose, and throat.
The Navesink River is experiencing an exceedance of e.coli in its waterway. Boat owners and homeowners there have banded together to call for an action plan after a report by Clean Ocean Action raised awareness. We need to keep the ‘poop” out of our river too!
For further information on water monitoring practices, closings, and advisories, click on the following link:
For information on the Navesink River Pollution article(s) click here:
The Shark River dredging project that was stalled by the gas tax impasse will resume “any day” now after state officials realized they risked losing an undisclosed amount of federal funding for the work, a Monmouth County freeholder said.
Monmouth County officials abruptly canceled the news conference where a plan to restart the stalled Shark River dredging project Monmouth County officials would be announced.
Thanks to all who attended or supported the SRCC 15th Anniversary Celebration and Dredgefest Kick-off on June 30, 2016. Over 400 members and other local people with both ecological and financial interests that will benefit from an improvement to this impaired waterway attended the event to support our mission and goals.
At the event, Senator Jennifer Beck presented the SRCC with a joint legislative resolution from the State Senate and Assembly, recognizing the SRCC for 15 year anniversary and its accomplishments, especially in regard to its “tireless efforts that have contributed immeasurably to the development and implementation of a dredging plan for the Shark River” and “its worthwhile mission of enhancing the water quality of the Shark River Estuary and its fresh water tributaries.”
The SRCC presented a 2016 “Friend of Shark River” environmental leadership award to Brian Hegarty, founder of the Shark River Cleanup Coalition. Brian led the successful campaign to have the Shark River Brook and its tributaries designated as a Category One stream, and called for the wide scale dredging of the Shark River, as first proposed in 2005. Without his leadership, the SRCC would not be in existence today.
The SRCC presented a 2016 SRCC “Friend of Shark River” environmental champion award to Thomas Arnone, Monmouth County Freeholder Director, in recognition of his 15 years of dedication and commitment to protecting the Shark River. As mayor of Neptune City, and later as Monmouth County freeholder, Tom continued to seek ways to bring about the dredging of the Shark River, which is scheduled to start shortly.
The SRCC presented a 2016 “Friend of Shark River” environmental service award to Randy Bishop, Neptune Township councilman, for his continued efforts to protect and preserve the Shark River estuary, including his persistence in finding ways to the dredge the Shark River.
The SRCC presented a 2016 “Friend of Shark River” environmental achievement award to Jennifer Beck, NJ State Senator for New Jersey’s 11th Legislative District, for her success in securing the funding through the Transportation Trust Fund for the current dredging project, the first dredging of Shark River in 40 years.
This event raised over $10,000 to support our continued efforts to ensure a cleaner Shark River. Such programs include community outreach, cleanups, outdoor programs, water monitoring, horseshoe crab survey, advocacy, and litigation.
Friday, June 17th, 2016….Maclearie Park at L Street Beach, Belmar NJ….4:00pm to dusk, Click for more information
Dredgefest 2016 flyer and info.
15th Anniversary Celebration and Dredging Kick-Off Party
Where: THE HEADLINER, NEPTUNE NJ
When: THURSDAY, JUNE 30, 2016
6:00 PM-10:00 PM
What: BANDS, FOOD, GIFT AUCTION, ENVIRONMENTAL AWARDS
VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED IN ALL AREAS FOR THE HEADLINER EVENT!!
PLEASE EMAIL US IF YOU CAN HELP US OUT!!
Our Shark River has been the focus of a long battle to maintain and preserve this valuable natural resource. It is used by local residents and summer visitors for boating, fishing, and other forms of recreation. Businesses along the river depend on a healthy river to maintain their livelihood. Landowners depend on the river to keep their home values stable. Wildlife depends on the river for survival.
Since 2001, the mission of the Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. has been to enhance the water quality of the Shark River Estuary and its fresh water tributaries, to improve and protect habitats important to the conservation of wildlife, to protect the recreational and commercial uses from degradation and pollution; thereby ensuring the ecological health and economic stability of this important watershed.
After over 15 years of urging the decision makers to develop and implement a dredging plan for the Shark River, we are excited that the first step is finally taking place, thanks to the efforts of some of our local politicians and “Save Shark River” advocates. Mobile Dredging, the contractor, started the process in late December and continued through the beginning of January. The dredging process will start up again on July 1- December 31, 2016. In order to celebrate this FIRSTSTEP, a fundraiser is being planned for June 30 at the Headliner, which will recognize and acknowledge the recent efforts to protect, preserve, and restore our estuary, the Shark River, and the many recreational sports and pastimes that take place on it.
However, we fear that this first step may be the only step that is taken. The current plan calls for the dredging of 101,494 cubic yards of sediment in the southern navigational channels of the Shark River. This plan leaves many shorelines along the Shark River clogged, silted in, and dying a slow death. Our voices need to be heard now, so that our politicians know that this struggle is not over. Help us to Save the Shark River Watershed by supporting our Headliner event.
Donations of food, gift auction items, etc. are welcome as well. Tickets for the event will be available at a later date. You can also make a tax-deductible donation at, http://sharkriver.org/donations/, or mail your contribution to SRCC, PO Box 2241, Neptune City, NJ. All donations will be used to continue our battle to preserve our river, and more than ever, we need your presence at this event to send a clear message to our legislators that we intend to continue our fight to keep the River alive.
On behalf of myself, the SRCC Board of Directors, and our members, we would like to thank you in advance for your help and support.
James McNamara, President William Sciarappa, Board Member
Arlene Sciarappa, Secretary John Brennan, Board Member
Jeffrey Hoffman, Treasurer Matthew Gregg, Board Member
John Dempsey, Board Member Toto Tasso, Board Member
The dredging officially ended on Monday, Jan. 11. The permit does not allow dredging to resume until July 1.
Over 60 people turned out to clean the banks of the Shark River on Saturday October 24th. Groups included environmental clubs from St. Rose High School, Neptune High School, members of the Neptune Lions club, the Neptune Rescue and Recover dive team, boat owners, families, and other SRCC supporters. Over 75 bags of garbage, including plastic bottles, aluminum cans, plastic ware, Styrofoam, plastic bags, food and candy wrappers, wood and logs, shoes, tires, fishing equipment, beach chairs, metal, construction material and other debris were collected. The biggest pollution offender by far was cigarette butts.
Neptune City Mayor Bob Brown addressed the volunteers about the upcoming dredging project and the importance of continuing to find funding to dredge and/or remediate other areas of the river such as Memorial Park beach and Campbell’s boatyard. Neptune City mayoral candidate Pamela Renee and Assembly candidate Joanne Downey also assisted/attended the river cleanup to show support for the Shark River. The cleanup was held in collaboration with the Clean Ocean Action statewide beach sweeps campaign.
After a kick-off breakfast at Memorial Park, cleanup volunteers returned for a noon time BBQ to report their finds and further discuss solutions to saving the Shark River.
Check out some of the pictures below!