Answers from a simple one-question survey conducted by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium proves a handy tool for future efforts. The question simply asked visitors to chose from a list of twenty, which they thought would have the biggest impact on New Jersey's coastal future?

Consortium Spokeswoman Kim Kosco says "we saw pretty-much overwhelmingly that water quality and clean water was the major concern of people. They wanted to know if the water was clean and if the water quality was good for not only swimming but for fishing, seafood quality? Water quality effects, it really trickles down to so many different areas."

Kosco says overdevelopment was the next top vote-getter.

However, with the increasing number of rip current related drowning's, she's wondering if the respondents would choose differently today. "Now of course with that being such a timely topic, it would be interesting for me to see rip currents in fact would show up where they didn't before."

The survey was a part of the consortium's annual Top Ten Beaches Contest. 6,000 people participated in the survey and nearly 30% selected water quality, followed by overdevelopment, beach nourishment, public access, beach and marine debris, protecting shorebirds and marine life, flooding, the health of the Barnegat Bay, balancing coastal resources and seafood quality.

Kosco says the purpose of the survey was to get people to do more than just admire the beaches. "We wanted to make them think a little bit about the issues and the conditions and some of the other environmental aspects that affect the beaches too, make them think a little bit in addition to appreciating the beaches"

She says they'll keep the responses in mind when they start to develop research and outreach education projects.