SBB to Estuary Program: LET US SPEAK !

The state’s Barnegat Bay Estuary Program has refused since July 2008 to allow Save Barnegat Bay to present its Model Nitrogen Lawn Care Ordinance. The “Friends of Jellyfish” are trying to gag SBB.

Save Barnegat Bay
906-B Grand Central Avenue
Lavallette, NJ 08735

February 9, 2009

Policy Committee
Barnegat Bay National Estuary Program

By Email

Dear Members of the BBNEP Policy Committee,

I am writing on behalf of Save Barnegat Bay, which is supported by approximately 1,500 families and businesses annually, to request that the BBNEP Policy Committee:

Instruct the Program Director of the Barnegat Bay National Estuary Program, Mr. Stan Hales, to allow Save Barnegat Bay to make an unobstructed presentation of its Model Nitrogen Lawn Care Ordinance to the program’s Science and Technical Advisory Committee in the near future.

In a contradiction of the National Estuary Program’s policy of “partnering” with local organizations, Mr. Hales has declined since June 2008 – despite our repeated and emphatic requests – to allow Save Barnegat Bay to make this presentation.

Very few organizations nationally can have made as great an effort to partner with a National Estuary Program than has Save Barnegat Bay with the BBNEP.

Over the course of 2008, Save Barnegat Bay spent well over a thousand hours and thousands of dollars researching every nitrogen lawn fertilizer ordinance in the United States. We then drafted an ordinance that we believe would be the most practical and hence the strongest in the country.

A comprehensive explanation of our ordinance can be found at

Our model ordinance has been read and endorsed by Ivan Valiela, J.Frederick Grassle, Michael J. Kennish, Norbert Psuty, John Tiedmann, and Kent Mountford, who are some of the leading marine scientists in the world.

Nevertheless, Mr. Hales, since June 2008 has not allowed us even to present this ordinance to the Science and Technical Advisory Committee.

It is a disgrace that that Barnegat Bay National Estuary Program should place Save Barnegat Bay in the position of having to engage on an eight month campaign – a campaign that is to date unsuccessful – simply to be heard.

We have not to date set in writing a record of the ways in which the Program Director has evaded and stalled our repeated requests to present our model ordinance. To be forced to do so – simply as a result of having attempted to partner with the BBNEP – would be extremely demeaning. But if the Policy Committee requires such an exercise, we will provide a partial list.

We must find a way to move forward constructively.

Relying on mere repetition of previously unfulfilled promises by Mr. Hales will change nothing. The Policy Committee must be willing to set standards by which Mr. Hales can be held accountable for his representations.

A solution to this problem could be for the Policy Committee to stipulate as follows.

(1) That a date for a special meeting of the Science and Technical Advisory Committee should be set in the near future on a day on which Michael Borgatti, the primary author of Save Barnegat Bay’s ordinance, and I, are able to be present. (To date, Mr. Hales has been knowingly advancing a date unavailable to Save Barnegat Bay’s team.)

(2) That at this special meeting Save Barnegat Bay should be allowed to be the first presenter. This is only appropriate since the meeting was called specifically because the County Administration handed Save Barnegat Bay’s ordinance to the Department of Health, who in turn requested the Science and Technical Advisory Committee’s opinion.

(3) That Save Barnegat Bay should be allowed at least one hour to make its presentation, and that it should be allowed to explain the ordinance by use of a PowerPoint.

(4) That the Science and Technical Advisory Committee should offer only a scientific opinion as to the viability of SBB’s ordinance, and not an opinion as to its legality or political feasibility.

(5) That the Policy Committee should not be bound by any opinion of the Science and Technical Advisory Committee but rather that the Policy Committee should merely take that opinion under consideration.

These firm standards might spare Save Barnegat Bay the further abuse of going through yet another round of false promises of being heard.

Wherever Save Barnegat Bay has been given the ability to present our ordinance, audiences have generally admired it for its practicality, for its simplicity, and for the fact that imposes no hardship on the homeowner.

Please allow us to move from a campaign to be heard to a constructive conversation on the merits of our ordinance.


William deCamp Jr., Chairman
Save Barnegat Bay

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