1. Community Outreach
Utilizing our Program Director, Education Committee and a volunteer staff we will create a presentation of the watershed that details its size, location, demographics, special characteristics, drinking water sources, open space and remaining pristine areas as well as those areas impacted by pollution. This presentation will then be offered to area schools, planning boards, governing bodies and civic groups to generate their interest and support for environmental initiatives. The components of the program will be an interactive Power Point presentation, color brochures, and hands on use of an enviroscape model as well as “one on one” time with our audience for questions and answers.The objectives of this program will be to educate the public, government officials, and stakeholders in the watershed on the impact of non-point source pollution upon our recreational and drinking water sources and motivate them to reduce or eliminate pollution in our waters.
2. Video Production:
The Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. will produce a full-length color video presentation on the Shark River, its tributaries, wetlands and wildlife. Topics covered in the presentation will include recreational uses, drinking water sources, marine inhabitants, wildlife, types of pollution and their impacts, and how the average person contributes to the pollution of our watershed. A significant portion of the video will discuss how the average person can prevent or eliminate pollution and conserve water. Examples are proper use of lawn care products, littering, petroleum leaks from vehicles and conserving water. We will produce 15,000 videos and distribute them through the US mail and door to door by our volunteers. The objective of the presentation will be to foster a sense of ownership within the residents and stakeholders in the watershed and to have them assume personal responsibility for pollution prevention.
3. Lawn Care Seminars:
Through collaboration of the Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. with local lawn care providers, lawn chemical applicators, and retailer’s of lawn care products we will create a series of seminars aimed at professionals and homeowners who apply lawn care products. Experts in the field of lawn care chemicals and the Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. will conduct these educational seminars at various locations in the watershed. The emphasis will be on the proper usage of lawn care products, natural alternatives to chemical use, integrated pest management, and spot rather than blanket application of chemicals. The objective of these seminars will be the education of professionals and homeowners on the effects of lawn care products on our water quality, wildlife and wetlands and encourage them to use alternative methods and treatments that have less of an impact on our environment.
4. River Tours:
The river tours program will be developed and run by volunteers and staff. The program will consist of a series of walking, biking and driving tours. The tours will be guided by trained volunteers and professionals who will guide guests around the watershed and introduce them to the wildlife, habitat, drinking water, headwaters and wetlands of the watershed. The objective will be to foster a sense of stewardship among watershed stakeholders through education and first hand experience.
5. Water Monitoring
The Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. started a water quality monitoring program in 2001; the waters of the river and its tributaries are tested several days per week. Testing parameters include Fecal Coliform bacteria, E Coli, pH, DO, Turbidly, temperature, and nitrogen. This testing has been conducted through a collaborative effort among the Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc., Township of Neptune Sewer Authority, Monmouth Coastal Watersheds, Monmouth University and volunteers. The testing will continue in future years with additional collaboration from the New Jersey Department Of Environmental Protection to test for pesticides and PCB’s as well as our existing parameters and additional parameters such as ammonium, phosphorous, conductivity, nitrates, chloride, nitrites, ORP and salinity. The testing has a visual component as well as the chemical component described above. The visual component is a first hand observation which is documented through video and still photos; measurements such as depth and velocity; observation of scum, watercolor, petroleum products, odors and sedimentation. This photo observation is taken at every sampling station as the chemical and biological samples are being taken. The objective of this testing is to determine and document the pollutants affecting our waters; their impacts and sources and to determine the best management practices needed to eliminate or decrease them.
6. Clean Ups:
The Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. conducts community cleanups along the river twice per year. The objective of these cleanups is to create a sense of ownership and pride in the volunteers and improve the water quality by removing the trash from the river. This program will be expanded to three or four times per year in the near future. Volunteers provide the labor to pick up the debris littering the shores of the river while the Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. provides the bags, gloves, refreshments and dumpsters for the debris. Volunteers have included local residents, Boy Scouts, school groups, civic groups, environmental organizations and Coalition Members. The Township of Neptune provided the dumpster at the last three cleanups as a community service.
The Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. provides a voice for the river, its tributaries, stakeholders and inhabitants. Through press releases, TV, paid advertisements and letters to the editors the Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. informs the communities and stakeholders about the issues facing our watershed and what needs to be done to correct them. We strive to be relentless in our efforts to create an atmosphere of openness and honesty regarding the pollution sources and who or what causes them and to assign responsibility for remediation and /or penalties. The Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. members attend public meetings to provide input on plans for new construction; wetlands delineation and encroachment which may further impact the watershed. We provide solutions to problems and actively participate in the creation and implementation of new laws to the extent allowed by our bylaws and articles of incorporation. This will further our efforts to improve the quality of the waters and wetlands and protect wildlife
8. Water Classification and Wetlands Protection:
The Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. continually looks at the ratings assigned to our waters by the NJ DEP to insure that they are accurate and inclusive of all of the historic and current uses. These classifications determine the level of protection afforded to a particular segment or the entire length of a waterbody. We also monitor and comment on wetland encroachment applications within our watershed to the NJ DEP. The objective is to obtain the highest rating possible for all of our waters so that their level of protection is the highest possible and to protect the wetlands in the watershed from destruction or encroachment.
9. Open Space:
Open space preservation particularly in the areas of the headwaters of the watershed is of the utmost importance to the overall health and protection of the waters as a whole. The headwaters provide clean water for recreational and drinking water uses as well as pristine habitat for, vegetation, wildlife and endangered species.The Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. will work with the owners of these properties, Conservation Foundations, Monmouth County, and the State of New Jersey to make every effort possible to create conservation easements, out right purchases or donations of these lands to ensure that they remain in their natural state forever.The objective is to create a buffer zone around the wetlands, headwaters, drinking water sources, and known endangered species habitat to protect them from degradation and pollution sources.
The Shark River Cleanup Coalition Inc. will create a legal defense fund, which will provide funding for litigation against individuals, corporations, business, government, and others that pollute the watershed or violate the Federal Clean Water Act. Efforts will be made to create collaboration with organizations, academic entities and professionals who provide pro bono legal services prior to the need for these services. The objective is to create an atmosphere where polluters are dealt with in a swift and just manner and one in which the polluter knows they will be involved in litigation if they pollute in the watershed.