Clean Ocean Action




What is Rally for the Two Rivers?

This program is a continuation and re-launch of the successful Rally for the Navesink in 2016 in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The initial Rally for the Navesink was launched in response to the the downgrade of 500+ acres of the Navesink's shellfish harvesting grounds to prohibited harvest. This downgrade represented major degradation of the water body, especially in context with the Navesink being home to some of Northern NJ's and NY's last open shellfish beds. The beds in the NY and Northern NJ area historically were one rich fishing grounds for the shellfish industry, but these beds have dwindled to almost nonexistent of the past century due to environmental degradation. COA published an in-depth report in June 2016, detailing the history of pathogen pollution in the Navesink watershed.

Project Background

The downgrade came as a response to high pathogen levels detected by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) monitoring of water quality around harvestable shellfish beds. When it comes to shellfish, bacteria are a concern because filter-feeding shellfish such as oysters and clams are filter feeders, feeding on algae floating in the water column. When high levels of pathogens are present in water bodies, these animals can accumulate pathogens in their bodies as they feed. This is a concern in bivalve shellfish, like oysters, which are often consumed raw, making bactertia present in these animals a health concern for the shellfish industry. High levels of enteric bacteria that the NSSP tests for, such as fecal coliforms, Enterococcus faecalis and E. coli indicate non-point source pollution stemming from fecal sources which can from santiary line infrastructure issues or other sources.

The Rally for the Navesink laucnhed with the goal of tracking down some of these sources and with the help of local municipalities and governments, eliminating sources of pollution, eliminating sources of pollution. This may include fidning a damaged sewer line that is leaking into a stormwater line and repairing it, finding a leaky septic tank, and repairing it. Other sources may come from high levels of animal waste inputs, such as from large congregations of migratory waterfowl, mismanaged domestic animal waste such as from dogs, cats or even large animals such as horses or cows. These can be solved by bird abatement and control methods, and for domestic animals, using best practices for the management of animal waste, such as properly disposing of cat and dog waste. The Key to solving these issues though, is first tracking down the non-point source pollution down and identifying it!

The Rally for the Navesink program depended on a group of dedicated community scientists that dedicated their time to helping Clean Ocean Action collect water samples from across the Navesink River watershed. These samples were then sent to NJDEP for bacteriological analysis. The Rally for the Navesink ran successfully from 2016-2020 and had to be put on hold due to COVID. Since then, multiple areas of the Navesink have seen an improvement in water quality, and some areas are close to being upgraded. 

Due to the success of the Rally for the Navesink project and an ongoing need to continue monitoring water quality and pathogen pollution within the watershed, the Rally for the Navesink was re-launched this year. With the re-launch also came an expansion of the project into the Shrewsbury River watershed, as both the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers are intricately linked waterways and share many of the same water quality issues.  

Sampling for the Navesink River started in July and is ongoing, with ambient sampling occurring on a weekly basis, every Wednesday from 7:30am to 9:30am. Shrewsbury sampling has not yet launched, but is tentatively planned to start Oct 17th but once launched will occur every other Tuesday from 7:30am-9:30am. If you are from the area, we are actively recruiting volunteers to join our team of community scientists for Rally for the Two Rivers.

How to get involved


Click here to access the Two Rivers Watershed Water Quality Reporting Form

Community members can use this resource to report water quality observations within the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers to Clean Ocean Action. Responses will provide critical information on what is happening in our waterways and fill information gaps for our ongoing water quality monitoring programs. Potential observations can include fish kills, algae blooms, debris in the water, or anything that seems out of the ordinary. Thank you in advance for your time and commitment to the health of our waterways!

Please note: This form is for informational purposes only. For immediate action, please contact the NJDEP via 1-877-WARNDEP (1-877-927-6337) or the WARN NJDEP app.


Rally for the Two Rivers Training - August 10

Become a COA Community Scientist to make a difference in your community and local watershed! Whether you're a scientist or a citizen concerned about the health of the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers--all are welcome and encouraged to get involved!

To join the training session on August 10, 2023, please RSVP by contacting or call: (732) 872-0111

Waves of thanks to all who came out for the public meeting on May 23!

The rally is back and happy to share the fantastic news that COA will begin ambient bacteria monitoring in the Two Rivers (Navesink and Shrewsbury) this summer with the participation of voluntary community scientists! This is an expansion of the Navesink monitoring program and will be done collaboratively with NJDEP.

More meetings and details are coming soon. In the meantime, please stay tuned for updates!

Follow the Rally for the Two Rivers on Facebook



Click here to explore the Rally for the Two Rivers Waterway Mindfulness Toolkit!

Presented by Clean Ocean Action, with contributions from Rally for the Two Rivers Alliance partners, this toolkit is a compilation of educational resources that will help to instill "waterway mindfulness" in residents of all ages throughout the Two Rivers watershed. With lesson plans, hands-on activities, and other virtual learning resources, this toolkit is perfect for teachers, parents, students and anyone interested to explore!

Spring 2021 Fish Die-off in Two Rivers Area, Monmouth County

After extensive investigation in Spring 2021, the NJDEP identified the cause of dead bunker in the Two Rivers Area in Monmouth County, NJ, to be a bacterium, Vibrio anguillarum. NJDEP released an FAQ sheet with more detailed information. Read the NJDEP's FAQs here.  Learn more about the die-off on COA's blog.  

At May's COA Rally for the Two Rivers meeting, representatives from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), alongside Senator Vin Gopal, Oceanport Mayor Jay Coffey and Councilwoman Meghan Walker, spoke about the ongoing fish die-off in the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers. View the Rally for the Two Rivers meeting recording.


See dead fish in local waterways or on beaches? Late August/Early September Brings More Reported Dead Fish

Report your observations and photos of the scene to the NJDEP Hotline at 1-877-927-6337, and to Clean Ocean Action at

Clean Ocean Action is following-up with NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) regarding recent observations of dead fish on beaches in the Raritan Bay and Toms River area as well as Wildwood Crest. Dead fish on the beaches of Wildwood Crest were reported by Scott Fallon at The Bergen Record on September 1. Thanks to NBC's Brian Thompson for alerting Clean Ocean Action to this report!

Earlier in the week of August 30, 2021, Clean Ocean Action observed similar dead fish in the Toms River area during our water quality field visits. Visual observations suggested that those in the Toms River are Atlantic Menhaden and exhibited symptoms similar to the dead fish observed during the massive die-off in the Two Rivers area in Monmouth County in Spring 2021 (that die-off was caused by Vibrio anguilarum bacterial infection). Clean Ocean Action is in communitcation with NJDEP officials who are working to determine if these recent incidents are related to vibrio-infected die-offs or attributed to any other causes. 


Watch "Navesink: The Restoration of a River", a PBS documentary about the previous effort to improve water quality in the Navesink River during the 1980s.


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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