DEP Commissioner Latourette Declares Jersey Shore And Lakeshores Ready For Summer
Commissioner Visits Jersey Shore and North Jersey Lake Communities in Unofficial Start to Summer Season Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend
(22/P24) TRENTON – Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette says New Jersey is ready for a stellar summer season following review of water quality monitoring and visits to both the Jersey Shore and North Jersey lakeshores ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the outdoor summer season.
Coastal monitoring flights and preseason sampling confirmed that beaches and water quality are in great shape, Commissioner LaTourette announced today during the annual State of the Shore event in Asbury Park, which followed the Commissioner’s visits to Greenwood Lake, Lake Musconetcong and Lake Hopatcong Tuesday.
"Our coastal beaches and lakeshores look great and our water quality is in good shape for swimming and recreating,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “Understanding that the summer season is the backbone of New Jersey’s tourism economy, our DEP team helps monitor the safety of our beaches so that our residents and visitors can relax and have peace of mind while enjoying a beach or lakeshore getaway. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic summer, so let’s get outside and have a great time.”
During the event, Commissioner LaTourette noted that Governor Murphy today announced that entrance to all state parks, forests and recreation areas will be free this summer for all visitors, regardless of state residency. Anyone who already purchased a 2022 annual State Park Pass will automatically receive a full refund. Other individual park fees remain in place, including but not limited to camping, interpretive programs, and mobile sport fishing permits.
The State of the Shore address is held every year heading into Memorial Day weekend to update the public on the status of beach readiness and water quality monitoring. The annual event is sponsored by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, which is made up of academic institutions and organizations dedicated to coastal and marine research, education and outreach. State of the Shore has taken on even more importance as New Jersey grapples with the adverse impacts of climate change, including coastal erosion and increasingly hot summers.
Overall, New Jersey’s beaches are healthy due to a combination of relatively mild winter storm seasons the past four years and continued efforts by federal, state and local governments to bolster state beaches through beach renourishment projects, according to findings by the Sea Grant Consortium.
“New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is honored to release the State of the Shore report once again,” said Dr. Peter Rowe, Executive Director. “Our beaches are what defines our beautiful coastal state and this report is integral in examining their condition. As you will read in the report, New Jersey’s sandy shores are in good shape and ready for the 2022 summer season.”
"In spite of two back-to back late season Nor’easters, state and federal investments in beach nourishment in the decade since Superstorm Sandy, along with a mild winter have left the majority of New Jersey’s beaches in good condition heading into the Memorial Day weekend,” said Dr. Jon K. Miller, the Coastal Processes Specialist for New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and a Research Associate Professor, as well as Director of the Coastal Engineering Research Group at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, Hudson County.
The Murphy Administration has also made support for New Jersey’s inland lake communities a priority, and Commissioner LaTourette kicked off the summer season along New Jersey’s lakeshores with a visit to Greenwood Lake, Lake Musconetcong and Lake Hopatcong. These lake communities are go-to destinations for summer recreation and key drivers of local economies.
“We were extremely pleased to welcome Commissioner LaTourette back to Lake Hopatcong,” said Martin ‘Marty’ Kane, Chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. “It is wonderful that the Commissioner visited three of our public lakes to see for himself the many challenges they are confronting. Through collaboration with the DEP staff and our local officials, we are starting to see real progress with many important projects to ensure Lake Hopatcong remains one of the state’s real treasures.”
“The Lake Musconetcong Regional Planning Board, the municipal representatives, Assembly members and state Senators are extremely pleased with the genuine concern and interest shown by the Commissioner,” said Earl Riley, Lake Musconetcong Regional Planning Board Chairman. “We all look forward to a growing positive relationship between the local lake communities and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.”
About Coastal Monitoring
The 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 uses prison inmates to remove floatables and other debris from tidal shorelines. Debris removal enhances the beauty of natural resources, protects wildlife habitats and provides safer navigation in state waterways.
Last year, the Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program collected and analyzed 3,753 ocean, bay and river water quality samples. New Jersey in the last three years has had zero ocean beach closures as a result of exceedances of the primary recreation bacterial standard. Several ocean closures last summer stemmed from heavy rains that led to Combined Sewer Overflows from the New York / New Jersey Harbor. A combination of wind direction, surface currents and tides pushed floatable materials onto New Jersey beaches after the heavy storms.
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 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 https://njbeaches.org/. 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 Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP, Facebook @newjerseydep, Instagram @nj.dep and LinkedIn @newjerseydep