Governor Chris Christie and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin yesterday visited Ocean County’s Cattus Island Park in Toms River to announce a comprehensive action plan for Barnegat Bay and that the state will provide $20 million to ensure the continued recovery of the Bay.
“From the very beginning of my administration I have made it a priority to do what no other administration ever attempted – to implement a cohesive strategy to protect an ecological treasure that is so important for area residents, visitors and the entire state,” Governor Christie said. “This $20 million will fund projects to improve water quality, protect natural resources and restore ecological balance to Barnegat Bay.”
“We have laid a strong foundation with extensive scientific research and implementation of efforts to restore and protect natural resources,” Commissioner Martin added. “It is vital that this work continues for years to come, as envisioned by the Governor’s comprehensive action plan. This funding will largely go directly to local governments and nonprofit organizations that will continue to do the work of restoring Barnegat Bay.”
Funding for the projects is coming from Natural Resource Damage settlements, proceeds from the state’s Corporation Business Tax, the State Revolving Fund for infrastructure improvements, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 319 (h) Clean Water Act watershed restoration program, and other sources.
Barnegat Bay is 42 miles long and is very narrow, ranging from 1.2 miles to 3.7 miles wide. The brackish estuary is also shallow, four to five feet deep in most places. Because it only has two natural outlets to the ocean, its water flushes slowly, making the bay vulnerable.