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Barnegat Bay Cleanup A State Priority, Freeholder Says

The goal is to complete the cleanup by Memorial Day; plans and priority-setting are in works now

Getting Barnegat Bay cleaned up from Hurricane Sandy may take longer than Memorial Day, but the state and Gov. Christie have made it clear that getting it ready for tourist season is a priority, Ocean County officials said this week.

Freeholder Director John P. Kelly on Wednesday said he and County Administrator Carl Block had a conference call with DEP Commissioner Bob Martin and some of Martin's staff last Friday, and received assurances that the state sees the cleanup of the bay -- including the removal of sand washed in from the ocean -- as its responsibility.

Those assurances were echoed in the governor's words during his State of the State address, "and that gave me a good feeling," Kelly said at Wednesday's preboard meeting of the County Board of Freeholders.

Concerns about debris in the bay have been high on the freeholders' list since the early days after the storm moved through, with concerns about navigational hazards from sunken boats to destroyed homes believed to be littering the bay.

Christie's words were precise, Kelly said, reading from the address: "Nearly 1,400 vessels were either sunken or abandoned in our waterways during Sandy. In Mantoloking alone, 58 buildings and 8 cars were washed into Barnegat Bay. We will remove this debris and dredge the bay to reduce the risk of flooding and to improve the health of the bay."

Block said the details are still being worked out, and the state has asked the county to set priorities for the cleanup. Some of the work is expected to include using side-scan sonar to map the debris, so that bigger items can be removed.

Block said the immediate plan is to set priorities for the cleanup, and said there will be input sought from affected communities.

Removing the sand that washed into the bay from the ocean will be a big one, to reduce the flooding that has been taking place on the mainland side of the bay, Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari said.

People are getting worried because of all the floods, Vicari said. "They just got repairs done and got flooded again. Many of them are asking me, 'Is this the new normal?' and they're not sure they want to stay."

The amount of sand in the bay has raised base level of the bay, resulting in it taking less water coming into the bay to cause flooding, similar to what would happen if you fill a bathtub with sand and then add water -- it will take less water to cause it to overflow, Vicari said.

The inlets and navigational channels, especially the Intracoastal Waterway, are the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard, Kelly and Block said, and will be cleaned up the Army Corps of Engineers, which will return them to their pre-Sandy naviational depths.

The plans to clean up the bay "send a critical message to the tourism industry and the boating industry," Freeholder Gerry P. Little said. "If navigable channels are not clear, the boating industry is dead in the water."

The state will handle the rest of the bay, which given its size and the expected amount of debris, will take a lot of work.

Kelly said he expects that the governor will see to it the project moves along quickly. The goal is Memorial Day, Kelly said, "but we recognize the limitations."

"The state has the same desire as the county," Kelly said, "but we have to be understanding that it may not be completed by Memorial Day."

Having some work done should help struggling businesses, especially the marinas, which are having a hard time getting banks to loan them money to get through these times, Vicari said.

"It's been very difficult for them to get money (to make repairs)," Vicari said. "At least now they know it's going to happen."

Johnjcpa January 11, 2013 at 01:04 PM
Getting refuse and sunken boats is the easy part. Getting that much sand out of the bay will take years.
John Eric Mangino January 11, 2013 at 01:29 PM
I see alot said here about Barmegat bay Manalooking area and yes its a mees but so is Manahawkin Bay The great flats clear to atlantic city and beyond yet we keep seeing Barnegat bay mentioned I do hope someone clarifies the acuial area perhaps a map Author , The beach haven inlet is a Complete mees not to mention the Hogate waterfront areas . We started Sailor for Sandy we will completing a survey all spring using a internet site and a app is in the works for local boaters to report debris boats garbage on shedge island' s. there are still hundred of boats gas cans oil bottles littering the how coasts tree lines in the great marshes . Website here http://isailimages.wix.com/sailorsforsandy
John Eric Mangino January 11, 2013 at 01:38 PM
BHW is in a planning stages to get it cleaned up problem one is getting the owner to give permission Shaprio Still owns the water in BHW needs to give permissions then. The town is in talks with fema to get it funded . As far as water Quality thats a dredging issue and the brackest water in the furthest lagoon will always be a issue till some dredges it . That would be Shapiro . Fema will clean it by way of funding but the water standard also deem from local homeowners . Leaking fuel from boats fertilizers used . Now acully the lagoons had the best sweep of tides with the storm . any pollution now would be from old bulkhaeds debris thats in the water air conditioners every shed that lost its contacts gas cans etc. and boats in the lagoons jet skis etc
shorefriend January 11, 2013 at 01:59 PM
I think this is all of our responsibility; this is going to take volunteer effort and community involvement. If everyone who owned a boat or who crabs at the docks or just walks along the bay shores plucks out a few items, imagine what a difference. I plan on doing my part as soon as I get the ok to move back to Ortley, I’ll be putting on my waders and throwing some junk up on to the road. The bay is loved by all therefore we should all feel some responsibility to do our part in helping to clean up this beautiful waterway!!
Dawn Giovannoli January 11, 2013 at 02:52 PM
We also have a house in BHW and the clean up of the Bay (and Mill Creek and Lagoons) is also a concern. Certainly the water quality but also, more immediately, the debris that could hugely impact boating and ultimately the local economy if word gets out that it's hazardous to get out to the Bay because of the sunken debris. Has anyone thought to apply to the Robin Hood Foundation for funding to clean up BHW? They raised the money from the 12-12-12 concert and apparently, with a solid and specific plan, will issue grants. Certainly would be worth a try as BHW may not be on FEMA's radar until well after they handle the issues with the Bay.
Jon Q. Public January 11, 2013 at 02:57 PM
People ARE doing their part. There have been groups with hundreds going out and cleaning debris. However, where is the State Government effort to contain the oil spills and such? How the Local Governments? Don't they have any responsibility towards cleaning efforts? Why must this be put on the taxpayers backs? We are now months after and only now is this issue being addressed. Did they want to give the abandoned/sunk vessels/vehicles time to drain all their fluids out into the bay? Sure as stuff seems like it.
Ann Powers January 11, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Getting areas/homes ready for reoccupancy -- or, in dire situations, ready for people to re-enter and begin remediation - was the first priority. Rightfully so. It was and still is a major concern. Officials have their hands beyond full. This storm was so devastating, the damage is beyond comprehension. I appreciate the attention to the waterways...and yes, everyone should chip in. Jon Q - Why on the taxpayers' back? Asking volunteers to help out is not only sensible; it's proper. We're all in this together. Besides, taxpayers pick up the tab for govt cleanup, no matter who picks up the tab. The $$ all comes from us. Let's work together to get the Jersey Shore back.
tuna stick January 11, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Cleaning the debris out of the bay from the storm may alleviate the flooding, and allow for the waterways to be more navigable. But it will NOT clean up the bay. The strom sewer run-off, most notably from over fertilization, has been going on for years, and until that is addressed the bay will be a cesspool. Ask anyone who has lived here for years. We used to swim, crab, and fish in the bay without a thought as to what was in it. Now the only thing I see in it is the sea nettles (jellyfish), which anyone would tell you, means that is has lost it's vitality.
Random Poster January 11, 2013 at 03:21 PM
any "bottom material" aka = sand, can be pumped to land, cleaned and trucked to your area to both replenishment the dunes and the beaches making it bigger better stronger......so your home in "ortley" will be protected from future storms with bigger beaches and higher/stronger dune system and that "land" that your "ortley" house sits on will play a part in protecting the whole area as well... win win for everyone if you as me.....
grace January 11, 2013 at 04:24 PM
you have a point tuna but its something and i hope they, whoever they are, continue to help with clean up dredging etc
Silver dollar January 11, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Freeholder Director John P Kelly . How about some sand back when you dredge the bay to replace some of the 58 feet lost at forked river beach in Lacey Township Give us something for the 16 million in taxes ,we pay to Ocean County .Any thing but Lip service . Thank you.
Rick January 11, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Jon Q, You are saying that the State and local governments should be responsible for the clean up rather than the taxpayers? Aren't the mentioned governments supported by taxpayers?
Wilda January 11, 2013 at 07:54 PM
KRaz I even see that down at Tices Shoals.....terrible.
Wilda January 11, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Re: Storm Sewer Runoff..........some really really idiot person had dumped white paint down our storm sewer drain. Ran over the top of the grate with their car/truck,( stupid jerk) left tire tracks leading to inbetween two houses. No sense in asking " did you do that?" the answer would be a denial. I mention this to also add to your comment, tuna stick, that you are absolutely right about storm sewer runoff.
Wilda January 11, 2013 at 08:35 PM
I would also like to comment about debris in our lagoons/inlets. Do you think that there will be dredging in the lagoons? As I see something sticking up in the vicinity of the chanel in the B.Bay could quite possibly be part of a dock, as there was a very large portion of someone's dock.....wasn't from our lagoon........when the tide is lower. There was so much household (large) debris in the neighborhood I wouldn't doubt if refrigerators, etc. were in all our lagoons. i pulled a large bed quilt out of the water thinking if this got caught in a propellor !
Sal Sorce January 11, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Freeloader Director Kelly is a clown ... Bob Martin DEP Commissioner has already stated that such a clean up will take longer ... Kelly wasn't qualified for his Atlantic County Airport appointment ... he leads the cronies in Ocean County GOP ... Let's not forget what Christie did last year when he vetoed what was planned to help save Barnegat Bay ... apparently his backers $$$$ kick him into that move ... Barnegat Bay townships have been owned and operated by a well healed Ocean County GOP ... they can now accept the responsibility? Yeah ... the bay will take up to 10-years to recover ... reap what you sow???
Jon Q. Public January 11, 2013 at 09:37 PM
The pollution this storm has caused to the bay has been addressed by the citizens; hundreds of them. They are making an effort to attempt to clean as much debris out as possible. However, the State and Local Governments have done NOTHING. Do you seen any containment booms controlling the oil/fuels? No. The debris that IS floating and submerged in the lagoons again has been addressed by the residents, but not by the Government/Municipalities. How much worse will the conditions have to get in the water before someone else other than the residents do something? Should I go out and hire a containment company myself? Issues like this need to be addressed and quickly. You'll see when you take your boat out yourself, or when you let your kids swim in it. Better yet, when the fish are dead on the shore and there are no more clams to harvest. Yes I pay my taxes to the Government to do something and accept some sort of responsibility.
kt9874 January 11, 2013 at 10:59 PM
I agree with you wholeheartedly, shorefriend - My husband and I pluck LOTS of garbage (furniture, shoes, chemicals, toys, DVDs, clothes, lawn furniture, lumber, etc.) from the Manahawkin Bay lagoon in BHW. While sometimes we think its an effort in futility, we do move past that and see the bigger picture - we are all boaters, kayakers, bird/duck watchers, swimmers, fisherman, crabbers who love the bay - we should do all that we can to clean it up! We can all grab a net, stand on the dock and retrieve what we can. Every little bit counts! Best wishes to your recovery effort in Ortley! Stay Jersey strong!
Chief Wahoo January 11, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Someone give that clown Viccari his rubber ducky. That's about as much as knows.
jerzey fish January 12, 2013 at 01:10 AM
mother nature was trying to fix the bay with the inlet
foggyworld January 12, 2013 at 05:56 PM
We live on a tiny patch of beach on the Bay and when things come up, we grab them and trash them. There are large pieces of wood out there but I am waiting for them to move in just a bit closer and then will go out to get them with waders on. Most residents and volunteers are very aware of what is happening. It changes every day and takes constant watching. It would seem to me excess sand could be placed all around the Bay's public beaches because they can never really have enough. And do know that the residents are going above and beyond doing what they can to remediate the Bay and our own communities. Sunk vessels and vehicles, however, are not jobs that most of us can handle because without the proper equipment we could cause more damage by piercing engines or containers of oil or other chemicals. That, I thought, the FEMA funds would cover. I also see that the Army Corps. of Engineers is doing massive clean-up in Staten Island and wonder if they are headed to NJ any time soon.
MTBottle January 12, 2013 at 06:20 PM
I was at a meeting and I was told they believe there is 12 billion cubic feet of sand in the bay, not to mention the cars and houses that are missing from the barrier island. Good Luck with the clean up. Expensive and time consuming I would think.
joe sandello January 12, 2013 at 11:33 PM
We are so fortunate to have an inter-coastal body of water that stretches from Bay Head down to the Wildwoods where we can fish, crab, clam, swim and boat without having to venture out into a sometime unfriendly ocean that so many other eastern seaboard states have to contend with. Let's realize this "gift" and fight to have it restored to its former beauty and and NJ 's emerald gem!
pie love January 14, 2013 at 06:36 AM
Just to think thiswae only c adacory 1 hurracane:-P :-[ :O :'(
MIC January 14, 2013 at 01:38 PM
The sewer/ runoff problem will always be an issue because of the area we are in, how people want to maintain their property and the Govt not wanting to spend money to correct the issue properly. Just the thought that the fed and state govt want to dredge and clean out the bay is a great start and with alot of help from the local marine communities through the next year, their will be a difference. I don’t think anyone has mentioned that we haven’t had a good freeze in the bay for a long time as well; this affects the ecosystem as well. I think we should be happy at this point that the govt is concerning helping to clean out the bay and that action alone will help bring a piece of the bay we once had back for everyone to enjoy. By not cleaning out the bay, it can also be considered a big loss of revenue for the area. It may be just as important, if not more important then the boardwalk. I hope the govt follows through and takes immediate action as many reports indicate.
no_money_left January 14, 2013 at 01:39 PM
In Berkeley township, Glen Cove section, a Delaware Corporation (Atlantic Coast Trading Corp) owns nearly 100acres of the Barnegat bay and all the lagoons in Glen Cove and collects $$rents from the property owners. Who would enforce them to clean up their property and hazards? Who would ensure that our tax dollars are not subsidizing a Delaware Corporation?
John Eric Mangino January 14, 2013 at 02:37 PM
I surveyed this weekend from Ship bottom To Beach Haven and it surrounding waterways Every shedge island is loaded with plastics debris garbage floating in the waterways are Large beams that you can only see with a trained eye. This debris is a danger to all who boat Jetski kayak or just plain swim . And there a lot of it and thats just half of great Bay we did we didnt get To the whole west coast Tucker ton Waretown Etc. Entire picnic tables floating underwater . Garbage cans but the most we saw was large beams from docks etc that would take any size boat right out if hit We Picked up Five Large Garbage Cans of debris this weekend out of the water . And miscellaneous large beams . If you would like to Help volunteer your time you boat or just walk a shoeline on your own every little bit helps . If you see it grab it even ih you drag it away from the tides reach Get it out the water . This is why I started Sailors for Sandy To bring awareness of the Back bays as well as the Oceans and lagoons the Govt can do just so much We who use the bay need to help . http://isailimages.wix.com/sailorsforsandy
grace January 14, 2013 at 03:43 PM
john would it be a stupid idea to ask if the jail can send out prisoners who do the street cleaning to maybe do some of this clean up? police have boats...everyone was affected by sandy who knows maybe they would want to contribute their help
John Eric Mangino January 14, 2013 at 04:30 PM
I do know the causeways and state parks etc along the water sure why not have them Clean it up sure and most probably like to the air .
STEVEN DOMINICK January 16, 2013 at 01:34 AM
how do we get in touch with them///

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