Rally for Barnegat Bay

Rally for Barnegat Bay is a collaborative initiative by Save Barnegat Bay, Clean Ocean Action, and MATES technical school to address pathogen and nutrient pollution in the following six towns along the Toms River: Toms River, South Toms River, Ocean Gate, Pine Beach, Island Heights, and Beachwood.


Locations of the 11 testing sites for Rally for Barnegat Bay’s water quality and pathogen pollution testing program.

It is important to address these pathogens (many of which come from human waste) because they threaten the health and safety of families that live by and enjoy the water in addition to the important wildlife that call it home.

These pathogens are also responsible for large-scale beach and waterfront closings which threaten the livelihoods of both current and future generations of small business owners who depend on the summer tourism centered around beaches.

We need your help! Call for Community Scientists

Save Barnegat Bay and Clean Ocean Action are looking for community scientists to help collect water samples to monitor bacteria levels in the Toms River watershed. Results from analysis of the samples collected by volunteers will help to inform source track down efforts, and will help contribute to the elimination of pollution sources. To get involved and stay in the loop, click the button below!



Clean Ocean Action (COA), Save Barnegat Bay (SBB), and Ocean County’s Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES)  have worked together to design Rally for Barnegat Bay as a three-phase, three-year long approach to not place blame, but rather find and fix these sources of pollution and the problems they cause.

The first of these phases will be accomplished by pin-pointing hotspots of pollution and creating a network of community involvement and sampling strategies. Once this groundwork has been laid, the second phase will focus on finding these various and potentially hidden sources of pollution by having trained volunteers collect water samples to then be tested at SBB’s EcoCenter.

An exciting highlight of this phase is the use of pollution-sniffing dogs that are trained to identify bacteria in water samples and trace it to its point of origin.

Finally, once these sources of pollution are identified, towns can apply for funding from the state to fix various causes of the problem. Continued testing will be conducted regularly to ensure that the water quality is safe for recreation, hunting, and fishing for future generations.

The Toms River has remained a significant cultural, historical, and natural resource. The Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) is teaming up with Clean Ocean Action, the NJDEP, and Save Barnegat Bay (SBB) for this three-year study on the water quality of the Toms River. The researchers at MATES have made it a goal to collect personal accounts of the importance of the River to the community.


The Rally for Barnegat Bay initiative is now in the second of three project phases. This phase’s objective is to track down sources of sanitary pollution by conducting routine monitoring and engaging municipal partners to investigate deficient infrastructure in hot-spot areas. 

For a more detailed project update, check out the presentation from the June 23, 2022 Public Meeting.


Community members can get involved by staying in touch with SBB as we train community scientists to collect water samples and educate the public about the importance of this project and prioritizing our waterway’s health.

Click here for more information on the Rally for Barnegat Bay Community Science program.

For more information on Rally from our partners over at Clean Ocean Action, click here.