TRENTON – Environmental officials called on Gov. Chris Christie to do more than just promotional beach walks to support and protect the Jersey Shore, particularly Barnegat Bay.
As a physical representation of their concern, folks from the group Environment New Jersey, which canvassed numerous towns to collect signatures on “Save the Jersey Shore” postcards, dropped off nearly 8,000 of them to the governor’s Office of Constituent Relations Wednesday afternoon.
Officials recommended that the governor enact more protective measures, such as curbing development in the Shore area. This will help prevent millions of jellyfish and stormwater runoff from polluting the waterways.
“Reckless development is polluting the Jersey Shore-especially Barnegat Bay-and threatening to rob future generation of this special place,” the postcard reads. “As development continues, the pollution is only getting worse….Please reverse pollution at the Shore by setting strict limits on nutrient pollution flowing into Shore waters…”
The governor’s office did not immediately return a call for comment.
Megan Fitzpatrick, Clean Water Associate with Environment New Jersey, said some 119 beaches were closed this summer due to the high amounts of pollution. The closures do not include the ones that stemmed from Hurricane Irene.
She added the Shore saw a 100-mile-long algae bloom, which also stemmed from pollution from land to water
In all, Environment New Jersey canvassed 85 towns and spoke to 100,000 residents.
“They want strong solutions and they expect the governor to deliver them,” she said.
Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said no additional studies are needed on Barnegat Bay, adding that Christie’s so-called 10-point plan doesn’t go far enough on land use issues, particularly on limiting development.
“This summer has been a very troubling summer overall,” he said.
He called Barnegat Bay the “stormwater detention basin” because of all the pollution, algae and jelly fish.
“We studied Barnegat Bay to death,” he said. “We are seeing a bay that is one of the most threatened estuaries in the country. Unless there is governmental action – real action- that bay will die,” he said.