NJDEP to unveil results of Barnegat Bay scientific studies

A symposium to review and discuss the results of a comprehensive three-year scientific study assessing the ecological health of Barnegat Bay is scheduled for Tuesday, November 17 at Ocean County College, Commissioner Bob Martin announced yesterday.

An NJDEP news release provided the following details:

The public can hear the results of the studies and how the information will be used when the DEP and the Barnegat Bay Partnership host “What Lies Beneath – Barnegat Bay: A Public Outreach Forum” from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Gateway Building, Lecture Hall Room 104, at Ocean County College on College Drive in Toms River

Registration is required to attend the free event.

In addition to assessing the ecological health of the bay, the research results will identify stressors on the bay and explain new strategies for managing the bay.

“Environmental research poses and answers important human health and ecological questions for managing Barnegat Bay, fills in critical data gaps, and supplies valuable information for modeling, water quality criteria, and enforceable standards based on sound and defensible science,” said Thomas Belton, DEP’s Barnegat Bay research coordinator. “All of these Barnegat Bay research projects are designed to assist decision-makers to answer applied regulatory questions.”

The studies commenced after the Christie Administration announced a comprehensive action plan to address the ecological health of Barnegat Bay in December 2010. As a result of Governor Christie’s plan, the DEP’s Division of Science, Research and Environmental Health began developing and funding 11 research projects ranging in topic and scope from studying estuaries and wetlands to evaluating boater impacts on environmentally sensitive areas of the bay to assessing various species of fish, crabs, clams and other organisms.  Scientists collected data for these studies between 2012 and 2014.

The studies looked at development of estuarine water quality criteria, the impact of harmful algal blooms, natural resource assessment and management for sustainable fisheries, assessment of ecological impacts from the planned closure of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in 2019, prediction of algal blooms and jelly fish population explosions, reduction of boater impacts on environmentally sensitive areas, and ecological modeling of the bay for ecosystems-based management of important commercial and recreational fish.

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Science, Research and Environmental Health, led by Dr. Gary Buchanan, will present many of the studies. Results will also be presented by scientists from Rutgers University, Monmouth University, Rider University and Montclair University, as well as researchers from out-of-state schools as Drexel University, Villanova University, Louisiana State University and the University of Maryland.

To register for the forum, please email Terri Tucker at Terri.Tucker@dep.nj.gov or call her at (609) 984-6070.

For more details about the symposium, including the complete agenda of research discussions, and ongoing Barnegat Bay research, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/plan-research.htm

For directions to the forum, visit: www.ocean.edu/content/public/about/campus-map/directions.html

For more information about the Christie Administration’s comprehensive action plan for Barnegat Bay, visit:www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/

For Year 1 and Year 2 Research Reports assessing the ecological health of Barnegat Bay, visit:http://nj.gov/dep/dsr/barnegat/final-reports/ 

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