TRENTON (gloucestercitynews.net)- The Department of Environmental Protection is readying for the upcoming beach season by reminding residents about programs that help maintain New Jersey's excellent beach water quality and the various online platforms available to help the public be shore ready this summer, Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced today.
New Jersey this year marks the 45th anniversary of the Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program, which provides water quality data and beach status information to the public for 188 ocean, 22 bay and eight river public recreational beaches that are routinely monitored during the season. Beach season begins Saturday, May 25.
"New Jersey has a number of tools to provide beachgoers with information updated daily about our outstanding beach water quality," Commissioner McCabe said. "We encourage the public to use these resources, so they will be ready for another great season at the Jersey shore."
The njbeaches.org website is a one-stop-shop for all things related to beach water quality in New Jersey. Visitors to the site may access maps and other information about which recreational bathing beaches are open, closed, or have swimming advisories; water quality test results; and updates from coastal surveillance flights that look for algae blooms or debris that might impact a visit to the shore. Daily updates to the website began Monday, May 13 and will continue through September.
Visitors to njbeaches.org also may access each beach season's annual summary report, fact sheets related to various beach and/or ocean-related issues, and photos of animals and items found in the water as well as on the beaches.
Shore supporters may click a link on the website to purchase a "Shore to Please" license plate. Proceeds help support shore cleanup programs, including the Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program.
Beachgoers may also stay updated on shore-related happenings by following @NJBeachReport on Twitter. From mid-May through September, tweets will feature daily updates for openings, closings, advisories, water quality sampling and coastal surveillance flight results.
In addition to the Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program anniversary this year, the DEP is celebrating milestones for the Coastal Surveillance Flights and Clean Shores programs, both of which have been providing shore-related cleanups, assistance and information to the public for 30 years.
Coastal surveillance flights will be conducted six days a week, starting Monday, May 20 and continuing through September. The Clean Shores program partners with the Department of Corrections to assist municipalities with coastal shorelines by using inmate labor to clear and remove trash and debris year-round.
The Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program is a joint state and local partnership between the DEP, the state Department of Health and county agencies including the Cape May, Ocean and Monmouth health departments as well as the Atlantic County Division of Public Health. Participating municipal agencies include the Atlantic City, Long Beach Island and Long Branch health departments, the Middletown Township Board of Health and the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission.