RUMSON - Monmouth University's School of Science and Urban Coast Institute researchers often travel from West Long Branch to cast off from a public boat ramp here, into the Navesink River, to collect marine data. A plan is taking shape to turn a tract alongside it into a marine lab where University and local school students can compare notes with professionals.

Artist's rendering of Rumson Marine Field Station (courtesy Monmouth University)

Rumson and Monmouth University officials this week introduced plans for an environmental field station on borough property, supporting research of the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers, Sandy Hook and Raritan Bays, New York Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.

Included in tentative plans are classroom, lab and meeting space above the sewer pump station, behind the Municipal Building, on Avenue of the Two Rivers, next to the boat ramp, where the University already stores vessels and scientific gear.

Accoring to University officials, the institution and the borough will jointly develop a site plan, construction schedule, and fundraising efforts.

Rumson Marine Field Station sign unveiling (courtesy Monmouth University)

Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl, in prepared comments, called it a "win-win" for the University and for local students with deep interest in science.

"Our students will be able to take part and assist with hands-on research and class activities related to the waterways surrounding the Borough, which will be led by some of the most respected experts in their field," Ekdahl said.

University President Grey Dimenna acknowledged the cooperation of Rumson officials. "As the region's leading private coastal university with our main campus just a mile from the ocean, Monmouth University has an important role to play in exploring the Jersey Shore's marine environments and sharing that knowledge with our neighboring communities," he said.

"This facility will help us build a better understanding of the scientific challenges facing the Navesink and Shrewsbury watersheds, from water quality issues to the rise of invasive species," School of Science Dean Dr. Steven Bachrach said. "It will also be a great asset for the School of Science's continued growth as one of the East Coast's premiere marine and environmental biology programs."

Monmouth Univ. President Grey Dimenna (courtesy Monmouth Univ.)

"The field station will allow our students to conduct hands-on, cutting-edge research projects that make a difference in the Two River communities," UCI Director Tony MacDonald said. "These activities will prepare our students for their careers and perhaps attract a new generation of scientists."