To the list of perils facing Barnegat Bay, like jellyfish swarms and disappearing fish, there might be a new one to add: fiscal austerity in Washington.
Money for restoring coastal bays and rivers could be up for grabs as Congress grapples with a 2012 budget in the coming month, said Richard Innes, executive director of the Association of National Estuary Programs.
"We got level funding for 2011 which was great. For 2012, it's anyone's guess, because of this (deficit reduction) deal they've made," said Innes, whose association includes the federally funded Barnegat Bay Partnership.
Bay advocates recently got help from Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., who wrote a letter to House leadership to support continued funding for the National Estuary Program. They are counting too on help from Barnegat Bay's congressmen, Reps. Chris Smith and Jon Runyan, both R-N.J.
Just when you thought there couldn't be one more problem facing New Jersey's most written-about body of water...