A non-scientific discussion water quality in Barnegat Bay.
Welcome to our website. Below are some important general points to remember about water quality in Barnegat Bay:
Barnegat Bay is an estuary. An estuary is a body of water in which salt water from the ocean and fresh water from creeks, rivers, and groundwater mix. For a healthy ecology, Barnegat Bay needs both its salt and its fresh water sources to be clean.
Barnegat Bay is a watershed. The Barnegat Bay watershed is the area in which any raindrop that falls, whether onto land or onto water, will eventually find its way by means of river, creek, or groundwater into Barnegat Bay. This includes every town in Ocean County, including inland towns such as Jackson, Lakewood, and Manchester. As it happens, the Barnegat Bay watershed closely corresponds to the geographical boundaries of Ocean County.
There have been several big environmental successes for Barnegat Bay during the last few decades.
First, during the 1970’s sanitary sewers were installed over most of the developed portions of the Barnegat Bay watershed. Sanitary sewers greatly improved water quality by preventing sewage from making its way into the bay from thousands of septic systems.
A second success was the huge improvement in Ocean water quality achieved during the 1980’s and 1990’s, under the leadership of Clean Ocean Action and many others. The result was an increase in clean ocean water entering Barnegat Bay via the Manasquan, Barnegat and Little Egg Inlets.
Big problems remain for the water quality of Barnegat Bay.
The biggest ecological problem Barnegat Bay currently faces is polluted rainwater running off from the surrounding land surface. The pollution originates from the many things we humans use in our daily lives: fertilizers and herbicides from our lawns; oil dripping from our cars; dog and cat waste; litter; etc.
Instead of soaking into the soil and being filtered by sand and wetlands, runoff from developed areas runs immediately off our roofs, roads, and driveways. This pulse of dirty water then goes straight down our storm drains and passes immediately into creeks and rivers that carry its load of pollutants into Barnegat Bay. The intensive overdevelopment of Ocean County, because it has increased the amount of polluting runoff, has been highly detrimental to the water quality of Barnegat Bay.
The link between rainwater runoff and Barnegat Bay water quality can be observed by comparing the water quality under a boat or dock to what you may recall about the weather in the last few days. After rain the water looks murky, and you may hear of bay beach closings; during a drought you will frequently hear people speaking about how clean the bay water looks.
Imprudent development also destroys habitat for endangered and non-endangered animal and plant species; it generates air pollution; and it creates an unreasonable amount of traffic on our roads.
Save Barnegat Bay mobilizes citizens to protect the Bay by finding ways to moderate the unreasonable amount of development threatening the ecology of our region.
Among the strategies we use is to promote public acquisition of undeveloped land that can be left in its natural state or as a park. We also promote zoning changes to allow fewer houses per acre. Our website, www.savebarnegatbay.org, is rich with information on these subjects.
We invite you to look over our website to learn more, especially about ways in which you can get involved in protect a beautiful natural treasure, Barnegat Bay.
Each year we receive contributions from about 1,500 families who care about Barnegat Bay. We invite you to become one of them. We are a tax-deductible not-for-profit organization. Our mailing address is 906-B Grand Central Avenue, Lavallette, NJ 08735. Our phone is 732-830-3600. Our email is email@example.com.
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