From the 2017 Annual Report: Chairman Dennis Kearney’s Message

April 12th, 2018

Read NJ Sea Grant’s 2017 Annual Report


This one word synthesizes our essence. The dictionary states that energy is the strength and vitality required for sustained physical and mental activity. For the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, energy turns the idea of who we are into the reality of who we are. The idea, as expressed in our mission statement, is to promote the wise use of New Jersey’s marine and coastal resources through research, education and outreach. ambitious? Yes. Challenging? Yes. achievable? You bet.

Without energy, our mission is no more than an empty proclamation about humankind’s relationship with the sea. With energy, our dreams become tangible. The astounding energy of our scientists unravels the hidden power of dunes, explores the mystery of climate change on summer flounder, and discovers how to optimize fishing regulations. the boundless energy of our education staff opens the minds of 20,000 school children, nurtures college students to take up a career in marine science, and sponsors Ocean Fun Days that unite a State. The focused energy of our extension staff works with communities on addressing coastal concerns, commercial fisheries, and water quality. All of our energy is for you. As we’ve mentioned so many times in these pages, Superstorm Sandy was a stark call from Mother Nature to pay her some mind. others can debate why our world is changing; our role is figuring out how to cope with the new order. All of us reside in a coastal environment. For this reason, the work we do benefits all.

Let our energy inspire you toward action. Read about the changed landscape. Learn. Talk to your family, your neighbors. Celebrate our maritime heritage. Make a field trip to our headquarters on Sandy Hook. our staff will truly move you. Once you are moved to action, join our crusade. We are here fighting for your present, and assuring a safe, healthy and energized future.

On behalf of the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, its members, its stakeholders, its trustees, and our valued staff, I am honored to present this annual report.

New Jersey Shellfish Aquaculture Situation & Outlook Report (New!)

April 5th, 2018

New Jersey has a well-established hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) aquaculture industry originating in the 1970s. Extensive aquaculture of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica involving bottom planting of shell and wild stocks dates back to the 1800s, but this practice was largely abandoned due to the onset of oyster disease in the late 1950s and presently accounts for only a small percentage of New Jersey’s oyster harvests. Since 1997, oyster culture based on the planting of disease resistant hatchery-reared seed has steadily increased with farms developing in the Delaware Bay and Atlantic coastal bays. In 2012, the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Rutgers University and New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium began an annual survey program aimed at capturing the status and trends associated with shellfish aquaculture in New Jersey. The survey is modeled after a successful program conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. This report represents the fifth survey year.

To view the full report, please click here.

COASTodian Newsletter Now Available Online! (Winter 2018 Edition)

March 23rd, 2018

Nor’easters and snowfalls and windy ice storms– oh my! But over the past few blustry months, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) kept things moving and grooving.

In this edition of the COASTodian, delve into NJSGC’s latest batch of research projects, discover underwater exploration with student-made ROV’s, tour Monmouth County’s “Tracking Sandy” exhibit, and learn more about upcoming events and various summer programs. We’ve also dedicated a section on how you can voice your support of the Sea Grant program by contacting your elected representatives.

NJSGC strives to inform the public about coastal and environmental concerns in new and exciting ways – please take a look!

NJSGC Needs Your Help & Support for FY 2019!

March 19th, 2018

Dear Friends,

Please accept our sincerest appreciation for your past support of Sea Grant and New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium. Last year, you reached out and told your elected officials how important Sea Grant is to you, our state, and the nation.  You were most definitely heard.  Congress soundly rejected the Administration’s proposal to eliminate all Sea Grant programs.  This allowed us to continue to work with you on so many crucial issues including stormwater management, coastal resilience, supporting the shore tourism and boating industries, and providing environmental and STEM educational experiences for children, college students, and the public.

The Administration recently released its FY 2019 budget blueprint.  Once again, it proposes the termination of the entire Sea Grant program and so, once again, we must ask for your help. 

Please reach out to your elected officials as soon as possible to ask for their renewed support of the Sea Grant program. When you write or call your elected representatives, it is important to thank them for their past support and remind them why the Sea Grant program is crucial to New Jersey’s well-being and how our work has benefited you personally.

To help you develop your message, we have included a template for possible use in composing your message. To further assist you, this directory includes each of New Jersey’s elected officials, including email addresses for their aides. If you decide to write, please direct your letters to local offices (not DC).  If you decide to call or fax, it is best to call both the local and Washington D.C. offices.  If you decide to email, please write your message to your elected official, but use the email address provided in the directory for his or her aide. You can also locate your Senators and Representatives at or text your home address to 520-200-2223 and you will receive a message containing the names and phone numbers of your representatives.

As an additional guide, please take a look at NJSGC’s year-in-review fact sheet developed by NOAA, and feel free to share!

We are forever grateful for your support and it is our pleasure to serve you.

Ocean Acidification Research Fellowship Available to Students in Mid-Atlantic

March 6th, 2018

In partnership with the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program and the Mid-Atlantic Sea Grant Programs, New Jersey Sea Grant is pleased to announce the availability of a new graduate research fellowship program in ocean, coastal, and estuarine acidification. Contingent upon available federal funding, we anticipate supporting approximately five (5) fellowships, one in each Mid-Atlantic state (NJ, DE, NY, VA, MD). Potential OA Fellows must already be enrolled in an accredited university and have an academic advisor who will act as the primary mentor for their education and research. Deadline to apply is 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 13, 2018.

For more information, please visit NJSGC’s updated list of current fellowships.

Attention Scouts: New Spring Dates for Individual Environmental Science Merit Badge Program!

February 28th, 2018

Contact us now for early registration!

In this interactive one-day badge program at Sandy Hook, scouts will learn the basics of environmental science as we explore various aspects of the maritime environment.  Through seining (net and boots provided), we will discover what lives in Sandy Hook Bay. Hiking through the Salt Marsh, we will learn about its ecology through birding, plant identification, tidal impacts, water quality testing, and conduct a vegetation survey. We will study the effects of pollution on various environments both at the beach and in the laboratory, including simulated oil spills and acid rain; and discover how waves and tides affect pollution. Scouts will learn about biodegradable materials.  We will study ocean acidification and soil erosion effects and analyze an Environmental Impact Statement. Mandatory worksheets must be completed in advance, and a subsequent lab report must be submitted using data collected during this class.

The program runs approximately 5 hours and scouts will need transportation to the marsh site.  Cost is $45/individual scout; accompanying adult is free. Program is scheduled for Sunday, May 6th from 10:00 – 3:00 pm. Open to all Boy Scouts. To register, please go to our website or contact NJSGC’s Scout Program Coordinator Jody Sackett at 732-872-1300, ext. 20.

Reminder: enrollment information for April’s Individual Oceanography Merit Badge Program is also available online.

NJSGC Boy Scouts Program 2018: Enroll Now For Individual Oceanography Merit Badge Early Registration!

February 21st, 2018

In a fun “hands on” ocean experience at Sandy Hook, Boy Scouts can complete the Oceanography Merit badge in one day with the help of NJSGC Instructors who are Certified Merit Badge Counselors. Scouts will explore the salt marsh and discover why the ocean is important to people. Activities include measuring water quality, studying waves and currents, viewing worldwide sand samples under the microscope, plankton collection and identification, laboratory experiments, and seining in Sandy Hook Bay. Mandatory worksheets must be completed in advance of the program.

The program runs approximately 4 hours and scouts will need transportation to the nearby marsh site. Cost is $45/individual scout; accompanying adult is free.  Program is scheduled for Saturday, April 28th from 10:00 – 2:00 pmOpen to all Boy Scouts. To register, please go to our website or contact NJSGC’s Scouts Program Coordinator Jody Sackett at 732-872-1300, ext. 20.

Introducing NJSGC’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan

February 7th, 2018

Introduction and Background

It is widely known as the “Garden State,” but with 130 miles of ocean beaches and 1,792 miles of tidal shoreline, New Jersey could just as easily have been the “Coastal State.” Seventeen of New Jersey’s 21 counties border estuarine or ocean waters. NOAA defines all but one of those counties as coastal, and, under Section 6217 of the Federal 1990 Coastal Zone Management Reauthorization Act, all of New Jersey is considered coastal since all of its watersheds drain to the coast.

New Jersey is home to a number of extraordinary demographics. While it is the fourth smallest state area-wise, it is the most densely populated one in the nation. Like many coastal states, New Jersey is highly dependent upon its coastal resources. In addition to its coastal tourism, boating, and recreational fishing industries, New Jersey is home to nine commercial fishing ports and two of the nation’s largest commercial shipping ports. The value of these industries is enormous, with ports commerce supporting a $50 billion industry, coastal tourism at $28 billion, and total sales revenue in commercial (including aquaculture) and recreational fisheries accounting at nearly $10 billion. More than 1.5 million individuals with per capita incomes among the highest in the nation depend on these coastal-dependent industries for their livelihoods. The coast is also a source of recreation for New Jersey’s nearly 9 million residents and the 91 million-plus potential visitors who live within a four-hour drive.

View the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan here.

These competing uses have created intense competition for New Jersey’s coastal lands, waters, and resources. The state’s coastal communities face enormous pressure to balance demand for revenue and growth with protection of marine and coastal resources. In addition, because New Jersey’s coastline is heavily developed, human safety, protection of property, and coastal hazard mitigation are areas of ever-increasing concern. Balancing economic growth, development, and redevelopment, with coastal resource quality and human safety is the critical issue for the future of New Jersey’s coastal communities.

Science-based management and effective public policy are essential to ensuring human health and safety and to preserving New Jersey’s ecological services and economically essential uses. Through this plan, NJSGC renews its commitment to advance knowledge and stewardship for New Jersey’s marine and coastal environments and provide New Jersey’s citizens, stakeholders, and policymakers with a trusted source of sound, unbiased, and evidence-based information and technical assistance to help them make well-informed decisions and take appropriate actions affecting the future of the state’s coastal resources and all who depend on them.

This plan aligns with the National Sea Grant College Program’s 2018- 2021 Strategic Plan and is organized in accordance with its four focus areas: Healthy Coastal Ecosystems, Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture, Resilient Communities and Economies, and Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development. The plan also affirms New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s support of the National Sea Grant College Program’s core values and cross-cutting principles while drawing on the unique strengths and abilities of NJSGC to address critical state needs.


NJSGC Announces Latest Batch of Sea Grant-Funded Research Projects

February 5th, 2018

The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium recently announced its latest round of Sea Grant-funded research projects that are included in the program’s omnibus for 2018-2020.

As previously reported, NJSGC received a record-breaking number of research pre-proposals from a diverse array of institutions in early 2017, all seeking funding to conduct research to respond to the priorities identified in NJSGC’s most recent request for proposals. Of the 43 pre-proposals submitted, NJSGC’s Technical Review Panel (TRP) recommended that 17 move forward to the final round of review. Full proposals were submitted in June and assessed until the end of the year.

During the rigorous review process, priorities for funding such research were determined through a collaborative process that received input from stakeholders, NJSGC’s advisory boards and partners, and several other objective specialists. The final projects were selected based on relevancy and scientific rigor using a competitive, peer-reviewed evaluation. As a result, the select projects chosen for funding reflect local concerns and seek solutions to New Jersey’s most pressing marine and coastal issues. The current cycle covers a wide range of topics, including:

Impacts of thin layer sediment deposition on salt marsh ecosystems

Establishing shellfish hatchery biosecurity certification standards to facilitate interstate transport of shellfish seed

River plumes as a control on microplastic entry into the food chain

Optimizing fishing regulations for New Jersey’s multi-species recreational bottom fishery to improve economic outcomes and angler satisfaction

Measuring dune, beach, and nearshore response to an extreme event:Atlantic City, New Jersey

Interactions among horseshoe crabs and intertidal oyster farms in the Delaware Estuary

Quantifying the effects of a changing climate on summer flounder recruitment

“Green” retrofit of stormwater BMPs for pollution prevention in urban coastal communities of New Jersey

While these projects span a variety of topics, they all contribute towards NJSGC’s mission to provide sound scientific data to promote wise decision-making about New Jersey’s coastal and marine resources. Projects are funded in part through a grant from NOAA/National Sea Grant which NJSGC has successfully managed in the state of New Jersey since 1976.

Updated descriptions of each project can be found at

Marine Science Day Camp 2018 Dates Announced!

January 10th, 2018

Marine Science Day Camp at the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium offers “hands-on” science learning for children interested in the ocean and marine life. Camp is held on Sandy Hook and combines outdoor explorations of the beach and bay with laboratory experiments and fun, educational games and crafts. Instructor to camper ratio is 1 to 6. The six updated sessions for 2018 are now listed below.

Please note that sessions are geared towards specific grade levels. For more information on the focus of each session, click here. Contact Rose Higgins at 732-872-1300 x19 to reserve a spot for your student today!