Press Release: DEP Promotes Environmentally Friendly Trips for Boating Through Ecologically Sensitive Areas of Barnegat Bay
The Department of Environmental Protection is asking boaters to be cautious this summer as they navigate a number of ecologically sensitive areas of Barnegat Bay.
Reducing the impacts from boating and the use of personal watercraft to the most critical areas of the bay’s ecosystems is part of the Christie Administration’s comprehensive efforts to protect and restore the bay.
“The reduction of watercraft impacts helps protect the environmentally sensitive ecosystems of the bay, including wetlands, shellfish and fish habitats and aquatic vegetation,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “It is especially important that we work with the boating community to help protect and maintain this environmental treasure, which offers such a wealth of recreation and tourism opportunities for New Jersey residents and visitors.”
Boaters can access an online interactive map on mobile devices and computers to find the locations of 16 designated ecologically sensitive zones of Barnegat Bay. The maps can also show the locations for marinas, sewage pump-out facilities, bait and tackle shops, launches and ramps, restrooms, and places to dispose of trash.
The map may be found at www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/plan-watercraft-map.htm
New Jersey’s boating and fishing industries also are involved in the effort to promote ‘green’ boating.
“Recreational marine businesses, especially marinas, depend heavily on clean water and a healthy boating environment,” said Melissa Danko, Executive Director of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey. “As an industry, we work hard every day to preserve our natural resources and encourage boaters to do their part when out on the water and to be aware of their actions and impacts at all times. By working together, we will be able help protect our natural resources not only for this generation but for generations to come.”
The 75-mile environmentally sensitive estuarine system of Barnegat Bay is home to plants, fish and other wildlife. It contains submerged aquatic vegetation that serves as nursery grounds for fish and wildlife. Motor boat propellers and turbulence caused by boat wakes can disturb and harm these sensitive areas.
To help maintain the vibrancy of Barnegat Bay, DEP encourages boaters to follow these guidelines:
- Stay out of restricted areas set aside for wildlife
- Do not harass nesting birds and other animals
- Maintain a 100-foot distance from natural shorelines
- Minimize wakes in all shallow areas to help reduce erosion and harm to aquatic animals and plants
- Buoy mooring chains and lines to prevent them from scraping the bay’s bottom and harming submerged aquatic vegetation
- Appreciate wildlife from a distance
- Reduce air pollution by not idling in open water
To learn more about environmentally conscious boating, and reducing impact to Barnegat Bay and other state waterways, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/docs/BoaterESA.pdf
For clean boating tip sheets available to boaters through the Clean Marian Program, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/njcleanmarina/boaters.htm
For more information about the Christie Administration’s Barnegat Bay Action Plan, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/