Oddly, this post comes from a website based in Columbus, Indiana.
TRENTON, N.J. — The state will spend $1 million to buy a Boy Scout
camp near Barnegat Bay to prevent development there and help protect one
of the nation's most ecologically fragile waterways from the pollution
that development would bring.
On the first anniversary of its 10-point plan to improve the health of the struggling bay, the state Department of Environmental
Protection announced Thursday that its Green Acres program would buy
the development rights to the 436-acre Joseph A. Citta camp from the
"Gov. (Chris) Christie and I have made an unprecedented
commitment to the restoration of Barnegat Bay, an ecological treasure
that is vital to New Jersey residents and the state's tourism economy,"
said DEP Commissioner Robert Martin. "The preservation of this camp is
just one of the administration's many accomplishments over the past year
in implementing this important plan."
The Barnegat Bay plan includes closing the Oyster Creek
nuclear plant in 2019, implementing the nation's toughest limits on the
amount of pollution-causing nitrogen that fertilizer can contain and
providing low-interest loans to local governments for water quality
improvement projects. The nuclear plant's hot-water discharges are
suspected of increasing algae blooms and hurting water quality in the
Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said the state needs to do a lot more to truly help save the bay.
"One year after the governor announced his plan for
Barnegat Bay, we have seen conditions in the bay get worse while the
governor weakens protections for the bay," Tittel said. "He has done
press conference after press conference and we have seen rollback after
rollback. This is about green cover while implementing policies that
undermine protections for the bay and create more sprawl."
A bill making its way through the state Legislature
would make it easier for developers to build near Barnegat Bay and other
waterways by keeping in place maps that show where sewer connections
can be made. The bill would keep the current rules in place for up to
two years and prohibit counties from preserving land by removing it from
the approved sewer zones.
Tittel said Barnegat Bay continues to deteriorate
because of nutrient pollution from too much nitrogen and phosphorus
pollution. The bay continues to suffer invasions by jellyfish and algae
blooms from nutrient pollution. Jellyfish closed several beaches and
pollution closed clam beds, and the loss of eel grass and other
ecological indicators show things are getting worse in the bay, Tittel
Part of the administration's Barnegat Bay plan includes
studies with leading research organizations, including Rutgers
University and the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, to fill in critical
research gaps, provide baseline data and assist the department in making
policy decisions about steps to restore the bay. These include studies
of pollution-nutrient indicators, fish and crabs, algae blooms, the
increase in the occurrence of jellyfish, shellfish declines and the
benefits of wetlands in reducing the effect of nutrients.
More than 3,500 water sample bottles have been sent to
laboratories for analyses, and more than 3,000 field measurements have
been taken so far.