Autumn Dates for Boy Scout Merit Badge Program

July 29th, 2015

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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.

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Ocean Acidification Stakeholder Workshop: Aug. 11

July 15th, 2015

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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.

What: Ocean Acidification Workshop

When: Aug. 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Board of Trustees Conference Room, Campus Center, Stockton University, Galloway, N.J.

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.

To review the agenda, click here.

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 …

On the News: Will new flood protections guard Port Monmouth?

July 15th, 2015

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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 PressBut 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.”

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Online rip current survey aimed at increasing safety of beach visitors

July 15th, 2015

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.

Click here to take the survey.Click here for information from New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium about rip currents.

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.

More information about rip currents, including online training to help learn how to spot a rip current, is available at http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov and http://www.usla.org

Dr. Houser can be reached at chouser@tamu.edu.

Feedback needed for web-based mapping tools

July 13th, 2015

Have you used any of these online tools?

  • N.J. Flood Mapper
  • NJAdapt
  • Climate Central
  • FEMA’s Online mapping Tools
Can you give us 1 hour of your time?
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.

Questions?

Contact Lisa Auermuller
auermull@marine.rutgers.edu

These interviews are part of a Rutgers University grant, “Enhancing the Effectiveness of Decision Support Tools for Coastal Resilience,”  funded by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium 

The 2015 Top 10 Beaches

July 3rd, 2015

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.

Top Ten Beaches

  1. Ocean City
  2. Wildwood Crest
  3. Wildwood
  4. Sea Isle City
  5. North Wildwood
  6. Asbury Park
  7. Manasquan
  8. Belmar
  9. Brigantine
  10. Long Beach Township

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Nurture Nature Center delivers final CSAP report on NWS storm warnings: Research is one component of a 10-study program

May 29th, 2015

FORT HANCOCK — Researchers from the Nurture Nature Center in Easton, Pa. have submitted their final report — They Had the Facts. Why Didn’t They Act?: Understanding and Improving Public Response to National Weather Service Coastal Flooding Forecasts — to New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium.

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.”

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State of the Shore 2015

May 21st, 2015

ASBURY PARK — The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium issued Thursday its annual State of the Shore report

The cold and snow of the past winter had little impact on the state’s beaches. Thanks to realtively few coastal storms, typical waves and minor flooding, the beaches and dunes were not punished by eroision.

Click here to read the full report.

Two years of mild winters has lead to most of the more than 14 million cubic yards of sand washed away by Superstorm Sandy to be replaced by natural processes. The natural replacement of sand has been bolstered by Army Corps of Engineers beach renourishment projects.

Commissioner Bob Martin, of the state Department of Environmental Protection, which is a NJSGC-member organization, spoke about the state’s efforts in conjunction with the federal government to rebuild Sandy-damaged beaches throughout the state, the water quality at those beaches and the low number of days in which beaches needed to be closed last summer.

Click here to read an NJDEP statement about commissioner Martin’s remarks.

Media Advisory: State of the Shore Report

May 8th, 2015

What: Annual State of the Shore Report.

Who: NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin; Dr. Jon Miller, NJSGC coastal process specialist; Dr. Stewart Farrell of Stockton University’s Coastal Research Center.

Where: McCloone’s Asbury Grill
1200 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park.

When: May 21 at 11 a.m.

About: The State of the Shore is an annual report examining erosion and other impacts to the Jersey Shore. Particular attention this year will be given to the amount of erosion incurred by Superstorm Sandy, and how the beaches in the state’s four coastal counties are recovering from a loss of 14.24 million cubic yards of sand, which is the equivalent of 7.12 million light duty pick-up truck payloads.

RSVP: Please confirm your attendance by emailingMatthew McGrath, NJSGC communications specialist.

From the 2014 Annual Report: Chairman Dennis Kearney’s Message

April 16th, 2015

Read the 2014 Annual Report.

Sandy Hook houses two beacons. The Lighthouse, erected in 1764, is the nation’s oldest protector of shipping lanes. New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, founded 200 years later, is the State’s staunchest defender of maritime well-being. These twin guardians stand but a few hundred yards apart.

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is unique in the United States, comprised of 24 colleges, universities and other entities committed to preserving, protecting and honoring New Jersey’s coastal environment. As you will see in these pages, we excel at maximizing our grant and operating funds to promote research, outreach and education.

Our scientists study what lies beneath the waves and what lies at the water’s edge. We are out in the field in coastal communities, educating residents on coping with climate change. The origins of Superstorm Sandy are less important than the lessons we learn from it. Our educators have eyes on the future, instilling a sense of awe into thousands of children who pass through our doors each year. Your scientists of tomorrow are our pupils today.

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