ALL MUNICIPAL, COUNTY, FEDERAL AND PRIVATELY OPERATED LIFEGUARDED BEACHES IN NEW JERSEY ARE OPEN FOR SWIMMING.

TRENTON, NJ – The Department of Environmental Protection is reminding New Jersey residents and visitors that all lifeguarded ocean and bay beaches along the Atlantic Coast are currently open, except for state-operated beaches at Island Beach State Park in Berkeley Township and Corson’s Inlet in Ocean City, due to the current shutdown of state government.

There are also no current closures or advisories among the 211 bay and ocean beaches sampled along the Jersey Shore for marine water quality.

Routine water quality samples will be collected at all ocean and bay monitoring stations on Wednesday, July 5. Coastal surveillance flights, which typically operate six days a week from mid-May to mid-September, weather permitting, will continue on Wednesday, as well.

The DEP coordinates the Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program (CCMP), a joint state and local partnership that routinely tests water quality at some 180 ocean beaches as well as 35 bay and river beaches across the state throughout the season.

New Jersey’s monitored ocean and bay beaches were open 99.9 percent of the time last season, ranking the state among the nation’s leaders in coastal water quality.

Under the Coastal Cooperative Monitoring Program, New Jersey requires that bacteria not exceed 104 colonies of Enterococci bacteria per 100 milliliters of sample. Any initial sample that exceeds the state standard requires that the local health agency issue a swimming advisory.

Beaches are closed if sampling the next day at the impacted beach continues to exceed the standard. Closings remain in effect until subsequent sampling indicates levels again meet the standard.
Advisories and closings are rare, generally occurring after heavy rainstorms that can carry bacteria in wastes from animals such as gulls, geese and other birds into affected waters. Bay and river beaches that do not have good natural circulation are more likely to experience closures.

Visitors can get up-to-date information on water quality by visiting www.njbeaches.org. The public can use this website to view and download water quality data and find out if there are any alerts at beaches. The website also includes access to a variety of reports, information about recent research, and shore-related links. To follow the flight path of the coastal surveillance plane and its observations, visit: http://njdep.rutgers.edu/aircraft/

From Sierra NJ:

DEP Tells New Jerseyans: Let them Eat Cake

On the third day of Governor Christie’s government shutdown, DEP put out a press releases downplaying the seriousness of our state parks and beaches being closed. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, released the following statement:

“While there are hundreds of thousands of people who can’t get to a beach or a state park, DEP put out a press release trying to spin what is happening. Instead of dealing with this uneccessary and unneeded government shutdown, DEP is clearly trying to defend the indefensible. By deflecting away from the Governor’s vendetta on the people of New Jersey it is like a Donald Trump tweet instead of a DEP press release. The problem is by diverting the truth of what is happening in our state they are not admitting to the serious problems we face when our parks and beaches are closed.”

“Instead of doing their job, the DEP is spending all their time stopping people from getting people into parks and putting out misleading press statements. What they don’t realize is that while they are sending people to municipal, county, and federal beaches, it is like the Governor telling the people of New Jersey ‘Let them Eat Cake.’ It is outrageous that they are telling people to go to private beaches that won’t let them on, or municipal beaches that would charge a family of four $40 plus $20 in parking. This is instead of $10 per car at Island Beach State Park. These local parks and other towns won’t even be able to handle tens of thousands more people and the huge crowds so people won’t be able to get on the beaches anyway. There won’t be any parking or beach access because this is the same Christie Administration that has blocked public access regulations to private municipal beaches. Instead of upholding the Public Trust Doctrine, this Administration keeps breaking the public trust.”

“The problem is with all of the state parks and beaches closed, people are going to swim and hike in other rivers, bays, and ponds and closed state parks, but there won’t be lifeguards or DEP staff in case of an incident. This means the chance of drownings and accidents will go up. Even if there are municipal, county, and federal beaches open, state parks are still going unmonitored and unsafe.”

“This shutdown means we’ll lose dozens of swimming areas, campgrounds, and picnic areas for people to enjoy the holiday. Instead of having a BBQ in Cheesequake, you may end up having a BBQ in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Instead of swimming in Shepard’s Pond you could be looking for a puddle behind a mall. Families who want to go camping at places such as Belleplain, Worthington and Brendan Byrne campgrounds will end up camping in their backyard. The closing of these parks is especially serious because New Jersey has a shortage of recreation space already.”

“DEP is giving Christie cover for his war on parks. This press release is like the Captain of the Titanic saying ‘We have free ice.’ While our parks are falling apart and we have $250 million backlog in emergency parks capital repairs, the Governor wants to spend $300 million on renovating the Statehouse. At the same time, DEP staff is down by 40 percent, the budget has been slashed by a third, and we haven’t opened up a new swimming area since 1981. In a modern version of Nero fiddling while Rome is burning, Governor Christie is sitting on a beach at taxpayers’ expense. Instead of admitting the truth about our parks, DEP is dismissing a serious crisis.”