Surf City — Barnegat Bay Partnership, in conjunction with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, has announced the dates of the Barnegat Bay Blitz, a time of coordinated cleanups throughout the bay’s watershed. The Blitz is scheduled for Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8.
Karen Walzer, public outreach coordinator for Barnegat Bay Partnership, explained that although those two days are the official dates when they are trying to concentrate efforts, “a cleanup can take place another day that week if it’s more convenient for volunteers.”
Barnegat Bay Partnership, based on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, is a nonprofit partnership of federal, state, municipal, academic, business and private organizations that work together with the communities of the Barnegat Bay watershed to protect, restore and enhance the water quality and all of the natural resources of the bay’s ecosystem, according to Walzer.
While the partnership would welcome volunteers in all of Ocean County’s municipalities, they are particularly looking for team leaders at cleanups in Little Egg Harbor, Tuckerton (which has multiple sites), Surf City, Ship Bottom and Beach Haven.
Walzer explained that while volunteers are normally required to be 18 years of age or older, “kids can participate with an adult or guardian.”
She noted that schools or scout troops have been popular volunteer groups in the past. “Teachers who are interested can even coordinate organized cleanups of the school yard,” she added.
To combat the phenomenon of common trash becoming the majority of marine debris, polluting streams, rivers, bays and oceans, the DEP started the Blitz, a watershed cleanup event, in 2011. The success on the Barnegat Bay has led the DEP to duplicate these efforts on the Delaware Bay watershed this year, leaving the Barnegat Bay Partnership to take the lead on efforts here.
Walzer also noted that the partnership has been in the process of updating and revising its Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan and its Strategic Plan. The plans “have been in place since 2002. We’ve been working on the revisions for the past couple of years,” she said. She explained they are still a few months away from a public release, which would initiate a 60-day public comment period before formal adoption.
To register as a volunteer or for more information, call Walzer at 732-255-0472, extension 2, or visit barnegatbaypartnership.org/blitz/.