We've heard for decades about the deterioration of the Barnegat Bay. Now, one environmental group is looking to get a formal declaration of that.LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE SHOW:

American Littoral Society's Helen Henderson & Tim Dllingham, (Tom Mongelli Townsquare Media)

Speaking on WOBM-AM's Townsquare Tonight, the American Littoral Society is building public support to get the state Department Of Environmental Protection (DEP) To declare the Barnegat Bay "impaired".

"It will put in place kind of the frame-work that will lead to controlling and calculating the amount of pollution that is allowed to enter the water body under the Clean Water Act," said Littoral Society Atlantic Coast Program Director Helen Henderson.

In fact, she said she's confident the DEP will eventually approve of the designation because they'll have no other choice, so she's in the process of developing a number of projects that will help reduce the pollution runoff load going into the Barnegat Bay, like a basin project.

The group is also attempting to influence the DEP's new post-Sandy coastal development guidelines that are going through a public hearing process. One even took place on Wednesday July 9th in Tuckerton.

Littoral Society Executive Director Tim Dillingham said a review of the guidelines showed him the state hasn't learned the lessons of Sandy and has set rules in place that facilitates more development in coastal areas and even opens development up in storm-hazardous areas.

"So there are places that we can make smart decisions about moving development around, moving it away from hazardous areas, building differently and none of those solutions which are out there are incorporated in these rules," said Dillingham.

The Littoral Society has launched a petition at change.org calling for the impairment designation of the Barnegat Bay. They've also launched a free smart-device app called "Marine Defender", that allows citizens to report oil pollution and oil spills to the U.S. Coast Guard. Dillingham says the app was expanded to allow citizens to report other areas of concerns on the Barnegat Bay like fish kills, jelly fish and algae blooms.