The Barnegat Bay Gets An Additional Guardian
The Barnegat Bay has been dealing with poor health for many years. In that time, there have been several efforts to correct the problem. The body of water spans 30 miles and is a vital component to tourism - which has been called the "lifeblood of Ocean County."
A slew of environmental groups have gotten involved including the American Littoral Society. For Earth Day last year, the group launched a volunteer program called the Barnegat Bay Guardians. They are now launching the second phase of the project.
The new Manasquan River Guardian makes its maiden voyage today. The 17-foot Triumph Skiff is navigated by boater Tom Mauro, a 56-year-old resident of Mantoloking who wants to give back. He has always enjoyed the watershed and doesn't want to see it disappear or become off limits to recreational and commercial fishermen.
Following in the footsteps of Guardian Al Wutkowski , Mauro will be putting his eyes, ears, voice as well as his boat to work for the river and the Bay.
In his volunteer role, Mauro will educate the boating community about the Bay and the issues facing it including the Bay's status as a No Discharge Zone. He'll provide information about the location of pump-out facilities and educate people about wildlife, wildlife protection and marsh protection.
In his watchdog role, he'll work to inform the appropriate authorities about illegal or damaging boating activity in the vicinity of marshes and conservation areas. He'll watch for and report pollution, algal blooms and other problems on the Bay and monitor for unpermitted coastal development and work with local and state authorities. Finally, he'll work to help scientists, citizens involved in restoration projects and decision makers gain access to bay.
"Since the inception of the Guardian program, many boaters and other recreational users of the Bay have been educated about how to enjoy the Bay without causing further harm," stated Helen Henderson, Policy Advocate for the Society. "We are definitely achieving our goal to empower more individuals, especially boaters, to help restore Barnegat Bay".