NJDEP to release Barnegat Bay study results at public symposium
The long-awaiting results of a three-year study on the ecological health of Barnegat Bay by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will be presented this Tuesday during a public symposium at Ocean County College in Toms River.
The agency and the Barnegat Bay Partnership are hosting "What Lies Beneath – Barnegat Bay: A Public Outreach Forum” from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Gateway Building, Lecture Hall Room 104.
The symposium will serve as a dialogue of the results, not a presentation of detailed solutions at this point, according to Bob Considine, spokesman for the NJDEP.
"Our plan on Barnegat Bay is the largest and most comprehensive ecological study basically conducted probably on any major water body by any state in the country. I think people have to recognize that the bay's struggles have been decades in the making, and that any reversal of that, is going to take the science that we work so hard on," said Considine.
Considine noted the study is a great data point to find the next path forward. The research examined several areas, including overall water quality and aquatic life and the impact of harmful algae blooms in the bay as well as the impact of the pending 2019 shut-down of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township.
"Barnegat Bay is a really enormous and extremely complicated estuary, and there's different nuances at different points, and I think the scientific work that has gone into this is taking that holistic approach every day. It's not just looking at one place in the bay. It's looking at the bay as a whole," Considine said.
Research results also will identify stressors on the bay and explain new strategies for managing the waterway, according to the DEP.
The NJDEP's Division of Science, Research and Environmental Health, led by Dr. Gary Buchanan, will present many of the studies. Results will also be presented by scientists from Rutgers University, Monmouth University, Rider University and Montclair University, as well as researchers from out-of-state schools as Drexel University, Villanova University, Louisiana State University and the University of Maryland.
The study findings are one component of a multi-point restoration plan for Barnegat Bay. More information about the plan and the symposium can be found at http://www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/plan-research.htm.