Clean Ocean Action

Clean Ocean Advocate, May 2005


Jennifer Samson, Ph.D., 732-872-0111,

Changes to Wreck Pond Sand Dredging Plan

     Wreck Pond, a small coastal lake on the border of Spring Lake and Sea Girt and a major source of beach closures in NJ due to high bacteria levels, is undergoing plans to address water quality problems.  One solution is dredging.  The NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP) Bureau of Coastal Engineering resubmitted their plan for sand dredging at Wreck Pond.  The new plan would keep an island near the eastern end of the pond intact along with the shallow areas west of the island.  NJDEP received numerous comments from bird watching groups and citizens regarding the importance of the island to local and migrating birds.  NJDEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife also raised issues with the birds and the presence of an endangered water plant called the Mudwort.  There are plans to enhance the dune area at the eastern end of the Pond (near the outfall pipe) to improve access for Piping Plover chicks to move between the Pond and their nesting grounds on the beach side of the dune. 

     Unfortunately, issues of public participation opportunities continue to be the main problem with the Wreck Pond project.  One example is the recent US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Public Notice (PN) for the sand dredging project, which did not include the aforementioned concerns.  NJDEP did write a letter to ACOE asking them to rescind the PN but COA was told by ACOE that a new PN was not guaranteed. COA plans to submit comments stating that the changes to the project are significant and require a renewed opportunity for public input.


Dredging Halted at Highland’s Sandy Hook Bay Marina

     Thanks to the watchful eyes of several concerned Highlands citizens, the illegal dredging and dumping taking place at the Sandy Hook Bay Marina was stopped.  COA received an anonymous call on Thursday, April 21st alerting us that a dump truck was disposing of dredged material on a vacant lot on Locust Street.  COA immediately investigated and found the dumpsite and the source.  The material was being dredged from the marina.  COA was told by the Dock Master that the operation was legally permitted.  Calls to NJDEP’s Office of Dredging and Sediment Technology revealed otherwise.

     The marina had already received a “Cease and Desist” order from NJDEP due to several citizens reporting the incident to the NJDEP Hotline.  COA contacted the Dock Master later that afternoon to offer our assistance in properly planning their future dredging activities in a more environmentally sound manner. 


To report an illegal dumping activity, call NJDEP at 1-877-WARN DEP.  For tips and telephone numbers for reporting such activities, check out  “Eco-Emergency Contacts” at, or send a self-addressed envelope to COA requesting a copy of

“If You See It, Report It.”

EPA’s new Selenium Standard Not Protective Enough

     COA signed onto a letter with 37 other environmental organizations opposing the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Draft Aquatic Life Criteria for Selenium.”  EPA’s proposed criterion is much less protective than the current criterion.  Selenium is a non-metallic element with metal-like properties and is naturally occurring, but is also a harmful by-product of industries (e.g., coal mine operations, coal-fired power plants, copper and phosphate mines, oil refineries, and irrigated agriculture).  Selenium causes reproductive and developmental harm in fish and fish-eating birds, including malformations and deformities.

     The result of the new criterion would allow more selenium to be discharged into waters by industries, increasing harm to fish, birds, and other species.  COA’s letter urged EPA to withdraw the selenium standard and develop a new proposal that is based on available science and will reduce, not increase, harm to fish and wildlife species.  Also, over 110 scientists in the field of ecotoxicology submitted a letter of opposition to the proposed standard.  It is now up to EPA to decide how to proceed.  COA’s comment letter is available on our website.


49 Avenel Blvd.
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Field Office:

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

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