Fifty-eight customers helped keep nitrogen from polluting Barnegat Bay by purchasing 540 native plants.
906-B Grand Central Avenue
Lavallette, NJ 08735
Mantoloking Environmental Commission
Bay Head Environmental Commission
May 26, 2007
Contact:Save Barnegat Bay, 732-830-3600
against Pollution in Barnegat Bay
How can you save Barnegat Bay without leaving your yard?
Fifty-eight homeowners from twelve towns surrounding Barnegat Bay found an answer at the second annual Native Plant Sale in held in Mantoloking on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
The event was sponsored by the Mantoloking and Bay Head Environmental Commissions and Save Barnegat Bay.
“We’re launching a campaign to keep fertilizer out of Barnegat Bay, and native plants are evolved not to need it,” said Joe DeAmicus, Chairman of the Mantoloking Environmental Commission.
The ecology of Barnegat Bay is currently threatened by an excess of nitrogen, some of which originates when people fertilize their lawns and yards. Minimizing or eliminating this fertilizer is a necessary step to restoring the health of Barnegat Bay.
Among the most popular native species purchased were beach plum, bayberry, highbush blueberry, shadbush, spicebush, inkberry, common boneset, brown-eyed susan, and northern coastal violet.
The plant sale is part of the Nitrogen Action Project, a long term effort by environment groups and citizens to restore the ecology of Barnegat Bay and other estuaries. Fifty percent of the nitrogen entering the bay comes from runoff from the surrounding lands comprising almost all of Ocean County.
This excess nitrogen may play a role in the proliferation of stinging sea nettles, which have which close some swimming beaches, inconvenience sailors and fishermen, and interrupt the natural food chain by preying on small fish species.
Although nitrogen is necessary for all plant growth, when it enters an estuary in excess, it triggers massive adverse ecological change. Algal blooms block sunlight from desirable species such as eelgrass, which is home to crab, clams, scallops, and many species of fish.
The nitrogen causes large algae such as sea lettuce to proliferate. The sea lettuce and other large algae fall to the bottom and can smother entire eelgrass beds.
“This is a great start at getting people to pitch in to protect the ecology of the Bay,” said Darcy Green, Chairperson of the Bay Head Environmental Commission.
Buyers of native plants came from Bay Head, Brick, Brielle, Jackson, Lavallette, Mantoloking, Ocean Gate, Pine Beach, Point Pleasant, Point Pleasant Beach, Toms River, and Waretown.
“This is a constructive alternative to using fertilizers and chemicals that harm the environment” said Amy deCamp, who helped manage the plant sale for Save Barnegat Bay.
The host groups purchased 540 native plants wholesale from Pinelands Nursery of Columbus, New Jersey, and from Toadshade Farms of Frenchtown. The plants were sold at no markup to those placing advanced orders.
“Our first customer was Ocean County Planning Director Dave McKeon, so we know we are off to a roaring start,” commented Willie deCamp, Save Barnegat Bay’s Chairman.
To learn more about native plants or Save Barnegat Bay visit www.savebarnegatbay.org online.