Boats head out of Manasquan Inlet last year for a day of fishing. Photo: John Oswald/For the Asbury Park Press
Right now, meteorologists are tracking Hurricane Erika. One model out of Canada does show that the storm could hit New Jersey, according to an NJ.com report. But, what’s more likely is the strom will make landfall somewhere between Florida and South Carolina. The storm will probably careen into the East Coast sometime late into the Labor Day weekend. Beyond that, the forecasts are just too unreliable because landfall in the United States is too far out in time.
“Is the Canadian model’s solution impossible,” NJ.com asked. “No. But should New Jersey panic? Hardly.”
“It’s not like you’re going to wake up tomorrow and realize you have 48 hours to react to something,” Gary Szatkowski, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service’s Mount Holly office, told NJ.com. “We’re in the heart of hurricane season — there’s nothing abnormal about this.”
NJSGC in the News
Dr. Jon Miller, the NJSGC coastal process specialist based at Stevens Institute of Technology, Dr. Amy Williams, a post-doctoral researcher working with Miller, and Dr. Peter Rowe, the consortium’s director of research and extension, spoke about storm surge and the Coastal Storm Awarness Program in Long Branch. The outreach program designed to help people living on the Jersey Shore understand the intricacies of storm surges was covered by the Asbury Park Press and the Atlanticville.
The three marine scientists, and others, made a second presentation in Cape May last weekend about surge and Dune It Right, the consortium’s manual for dune restoration projects. A final presentation about surge and dunes will be held Sept. 23 at the Ocean County Library on Long Beach Island.
This is a round-up of the week’s marine science and marine recreation news throughout the state from Aug. 8 to Aug. 14.
The biggest news this week was a mysterious, circular brown plume that appeared in Barnegat Bay, and the death of a dolphin that strayed into the fresh waters of the South River.
New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium provides funding to Rutgers University Water Resources Program at Cook College. Michelle Hartman, the consortium’s water resources expert based there, can provide insight for stories such as the brown plume in Barnegat Bay. And the consortium’s Director of Research & Extension, Dr. Peter Rowe, is a good source on stories like the death of the dolphin.
Reporters interested in speaking with a New Jersey Sea Grant Expert can email consortium’s communications office at 732-872-1300 x.18, email communications specialist Matthew McGrath or search the consortium’s experiste database.
Finally, an interveiw that Dr. Jon Miller, the consortium’s coastal process specialist, gave to CBS Radio late last week about rip currents was picked up by several media outlets Friday and Saturday.
Sometimes, it’s easy to spot rip currents from shore, Miller said. But, they are not always visible. Miller’s advice is simple: swim near a lifeguard and don’t do things in the ocean that you know you’re not capable of doing.
Miller’s warning comes at a time when authorities have scoured the beach at Sandy Hook for two days looking for a missing 25-year-old man. His body was recovered Friday, according to the Asbury Park Press. Rip currents have not been identified in the man’s drowning. However, authorities told the Press the man was not a skilled swimmer and swam in the ocean after lifeguards had left the beach.
Last year, a 17-year-old boy drowned at Sandy Hook after being caught in a rip current.
For more information about rip currents such as how to identify them and what to do if you are caught in one, click here.
Boy Scouts who want to earn the oceanography and environmental science merit badges can now register for fall classes. The programs are open to all Boy Scouts. To register for either program, contact Jody Sackett JSackett@njseagrant.org or 732-872-1300, ext. 20.
New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and North Atlantic Regional Team, or NART, will host an ocean and coastal acidification workshop August 11 for stakeholders in the Garden State.
This event is hosted by Stockton University, and is supported by NOAA James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, Rutgers’ Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory and Aquaculture Innovation Center, and Delaware Sea Grant.
Who: Peter Rowe of the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, which is sponsoring the event; Wei Jun Cai of the University of Delaware; Beth Phelan of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Sandy Hook Lab, NJ; Judy Weis of Rutgers University; Daniel Cohen and Peter Hughes of Atlantic Capes Fisheries; Interim Dean Peter Straub of Stockton University’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
What: Ocean and Coastal Acidification Workshop – an opportunity to hear more about ongoing research into the impact of ocean acidification, which has hit West Coast fisheries hard and could become a threat to New Jersey’s industry.
Shellfish harvesting in New Jersey has grown from $98.65 million in 2003 to $159 million in 2012, according to NOAA figures. Commercial fishing in general employed more than 50,000 people in 2012, and was worth $2.87 billion across all sectors.
Oceans become more acidic as the water absorbs more and more carbon dioxide, which strips the oceans of carbonate, a key shell-building nutrient.
“Research on ocean acidification and shellfish is just beginning here in New Jersey, and there are no indications of a serious problem at this time,” said Lisa Calvo, the New Jersey Sea Grant aquaculture specialist. “The question of how OA affects these industries is something that the workshop is meant to address,” along with environmental impacts.
When: Tuesday, Aug. 11 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Detailed agenda attached.
Where: The Board of Trustees Conference Room, Campus Center, Stockton University, 101 Vera King Farris Drive, Galloway, N.J.
Multimedia: The event will have photography and video opportunities.
Media Access: For information, wi-fi accounts or other help on the day of the event, please call Maryjane Briant at 609-652-4593 or 609-335-3859.
The purpose of this workshop is for stakeholders — fishing, aquaculture, water quality and marine resources management and other non-governmental organization officials — to become better informed about ocean acidification. Scientists and officials want to learn from the stakeholders so they can develop an implementation plan for addressing ocean and coastal acidification in the Northeast.
The day will include an overview presentation on the state of the science of ocean and coastal acidification, presentations from local industry representatives, and breakout sessions to hear more about changes you are seeing on the water, and on what issues and problems scientists and officials should focus their attention in the near future.
The workshop is free, but space is limited to the first 50 people who register. To register, please fill out the below. Read More …
The Army Corps of Engineers completed work on the first phase of a $105 million storm resiliency and flood mitigation project in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown Township, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press. But the project will present new challenges, according to a New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and Monmouth University expert.
The $17.7 million first phase was reportedly in development for years before the storm, but the damage sustained to the small bayside community in the aftermath of the tempest made completion of the project a priority.
Port Monmouth is a small peninsula. To the north of the 3,800-person community is Sandy Hook Bay, to the west and east are Pews and Compton creeks and their respective salt marshes. The Superstorm Sandy surge and tidal flooding reportedly damaged 750 homes. The community had 1,441 housing units, according to the 2010 census.
“Being that the project was in the pipeline for the past couple of decades, it can be seen as a worthwhile venture,” said Dr. Michael Schwebel, reacting to the report. “It is well-rounded and holistic in that it will address the Sandy Hook Bay and back creek flooding through tide gates, levees, and water pumping stations.”
Schwebel is the community resilience and climate adaptation specialist for NJSGC and Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute.
In the first phase, sand dunes were built 13 feet above sea level to provide storm surge protection, 400,000 cubic yards of sand was placed along Monmouth County’s Bayshore Waterfront Park and a stone groin that extends 300 feet into Sandy Hook Bay was built. Additionally, the Port Monmouth fishing pier was extended 195 feet into the bay.
Related: NJSGC Dune It Right Manual is a guide to dune restoration: click here.
“These are the types of projects that will help alleviate some of the flooding, surge, and overall impact of storm events and impacts of sea-level rise,” Schwebel said. “However, like the article stated, this is only Phase 1. This project is only focused on water coming in from Sandy Hook Bay and the future phases will help to solidify the resilience of Port Monmouth.”
In New Jersey, rip currents cause an average of two drownings each summer, according to Dr. Jon Miller, NJSGC coastal process specialist, who works on rip current awareness. Researchers in Texas now want to know how much everyone else knows about rips.
Dr. Chris Houser of Texas A&M University and Dr. Rob Brander of the University of New South Wales, with support from the Texas Sea Grant College Program, have designed a survey to determine the public’s knowledge about rip currents and the effectiveness of the current warning signs in use at surf beaches around the country.
Click here for information from New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium about rip currents.
“The results of this survey will be used to determine whether our current efforts are visible, memorable and can be understood by beach users, or whether we need to rethink how to warn beach users of the rip danger before they enter the water,” said Houser, an associate professor of geography and associate dean for undergraduate affairs in Texas A&M’s College of Geosciences. “We hope that this information will help reduce the number of fatalities involving rip currents.”
Click here to read Texas Sea Grant’s post about the survey.
Rips are fast-moving currents of water that can pull even the strongest swimmer away from the shore. According to the U.S. Lifesaving Association, rip currents account for at least a hundred deaths each year at U.S. surf beaches.
The warning signs and other educational materials and activities, including National Weather Service surf zone forecasts and Rip Current Preparedness Week, are part of the decade-long “Break the Grip of the Rip” public awareness campaign by USLA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The signs are illustrations designed to instruct people how to escape from a rip current if they become trapped in one, and show the rip from a bird’s-eye view rather than the perspective of someone on the beach.
Phone interviews will be hosted to learn how these tools are being used, their strengths and shortcomings, and what can be done to increase their effectiveness. We also want to learn about use of the tools to support risk assessments, planning and outreach activities, and implementing actions.
Interested in Participating?
Please express your interest in participating in the study by clicking on this link: www.surveymonkey.com/s/njwebtoolstestingParticipants will be contacted to arrange a one hour phone interview during August or September. Project findings will be documented in a NJSGC publication, and attribution of information reported will remain anonymous.
More than 12,000 votes were cast for New Jersey’s favorite beaches in 2015. Ocean City took the top spot for the second consecutive year, and Cape May beaches once again dominated the annual survey. The poll started 2008 to foster competition between the state’s beach towns. The results of the poll are used throughout the year. For example, when NJ.com reported on TripAdvisor’s declaration that the Wildwoods are the top destination on the rise this past December the strong performance of Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood in the survey was cited as a possible reason for the ranking.
The Nurture Nature Center-led researchers, which included investigators from Rutgers University Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve and East Carolina University, were one of 10 teams awarded grants through the Coastal Storm Awareness Program, or CSAP, administered by Sea Grant programs in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. And they are one of three teams administered directly by NJSGC.
“This project was needed because so many people failed to heed evacuation mandates and pleas despite the accuracy of the Superstorm Sandy forecast.” said Dr. Peter Rowe, the NJSGC director of research and the principal investigator for New Jersey’s component of CSAP. “These research projects examine different angles of three main questions: how do we improve storm warnings, through what channels do people receive those messages, and how to people make their decisions to act in response to storm warnings. The Nurture Nature Center really dug into the first question by examining how storm warnings are communicated.”