New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Hosts 22nd Annual State of the Shore

May 23rd, 2024

This year’s State of the Shore media event was an important opportunity for members of the community and members of the press to meet with coastal expert Dr. Jon Miller, Laura Kerr, and NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette to learn how New Jersey’s shorelines fared over the winter and a forecast on conditions and storms for our state’s beaches during the 2024 summer season. View the recording of the event here. 

Get your beach towels and flip flops ready because summer is almost here! After this winter of rain and snow, New Jersey’s residents and visitors are ready for the summer weather and sunshine. The locals and tourists aren’t the only ones ready; most of our sandy shores are too!

(From right to left) Dr. Peter Rowe, Executive Director, New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, Shawn LaTourette, Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Dr. Jon K. Miller, Coastal Processes Specialist, New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium; Research Associate Professor, Director of Coastal Engineering Research Group, Stevens Institute of Technology; Author, 2024 State of the Shore Report, Laura Kerr, Coastal Resilience Specialist, New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium; Senior Research Engineer, Stevens Institute of Technology

Coastal flooding, erosion, and wave activity varied from location to location. The northern part of the state experienced higher peak water levels, while the southern part of the state experienced more flooding events. During a January storm, water levels at Sandy Hook measured some of the highest water levels since Superstorm Sandy. However, the storm this past April that dumped several inches of rain and downed trees throughout the state was the most intense storm that impacted Sandy Hook. While some beaches remained pretty much intact during this winter, others had erosion that may require some sort of remediation. These small or moderate storms that cause this are expected to become more and more common.

While many beaches suffered little to no erosion, some beaches in the south need replenishment to repair some of the berm erosion suffered by the mild-moderate storms this winter. Beachgoers should be aware of large sand bars this winter produced along the shore that can lead to dangerous rip currents. As the memories of Sandy begin to fade, this winter should serve as a reminder of the damage that can be caused by more common storms and the need to continue to maintain our beaches through programs such as the Shore Protection Fund.

The forecast for this summer is predicted to be very eventful. This summer’s La Nina conditions are expected to result in more extreme weather this summer. The four independent institutions have reached very similar models of above average number of storms. Despite relatively low probabilities of hurricanes making landfall in general, it’s important to remember that it only takes a single storm to create catastrophic impacts.

As always, New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is excited to provide year’s State of the Shore Report to give the public insight of the condition of New Jersey’s beaches. Just remember to be safe: wear your sunscreen, remain cognizant of your surroundings, check conditions, be aware of rip currents, and guard your fries from hungry seagulls. Have a great summer!

Press:

NJDEP: https://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2024/24_0020.htm

WHYY: https://whyy.org/articles/jersey-shore-beaches-erosion-summer-season/

AP News: https://apnews.com/article/jersey-shore-beaches-erosion-north-wildwood-8b5d8ea06ce80b2430d1ca5dcf254ef8

NBC Philadelphia: https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/business/most-jersey-shore-beaches-are-in-good-shape-but-serious-erosion-a-problem-in-spots/3866848/ 

Vote for New Jersey’s Favorite Beach!

May 17th, 2024

NJ-Favorite-Beach-logo-2016-3 (1)

It’s once again time to cast your vote for New Jersey’s favorite beach! The fate of our beaches is in your hands. Choose your favorite local “hotspots” from a list of amazing beaches throughout the Jersey Shore’s four coastal counties – Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth, and Ocean. New Jersey Sea Grant (NJSGC) will announce the winners around the July Fourth holiday.

VOTE NOW!

Debuting in 2008 as New Jersey’s “Top Ten Beaches,” the survey was initially designed to encourage friendly competition and camaraderie amongst popular Jersey Shore communities along the coast. Following Hurricane Sandy, the contest was rebranded “Favorite Beaches” to diversify results so that ALL areas of the Garden State’s gorgeous oceanfront are recognized, inspiring a refreshing sense of unity and support.

Be sure to share NJSGC’s highly-anticipated “Favorite Beaches” poll with family and friends, and stay tuned for the official results later this summer. Send them this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/favoritebeach2024

Connect with New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter for more updates. Thank you for your continued support!

Submit Your Photos to the Jersey Shore Photo Contest

May 13th, 2024

New Jersey boasts some of the most picturesque beaches along the East Coast.  If you have a great shot that celebrates and embraces the natural elements of the Garden State’s beautiful coastline, submit the image to NJSGC’s “Favorite Beaches of the Jersey Shore” photo contest! Ultimately, the top twelve photos will be used to create New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s annual desktop calendar for 2025.

About the Contest:

New Jersey Sea Grant’s graphic design team will select 24 photos from all entries received up until Wednesday, June 21st (5 pm EST).  Those finalists will then be posted on the NJSGC website where visitors can vote for their favorite throughout the month leading up to the July Fourth holiday.

New Jersey’s “Favorite Beaches” Photo Contest Submission Guidelines:

(If your submission does not meet the following guidelines, it will not be considered)

  • Only one (1) photo submission per person.
  • Entries should be submitted as an attachment via email to [email protected].
  • The email entry should include: name, email, photo location, and image title.
  • Stick to the contest theme: Natural Elements of New Jersey Beaches. We welcome both traditional and innovative approaches to this subject, but please no family portraits.
  • Photo files must be .JPG or .PNG format and a minimum of 300 DPI saved at a quality setting of “10” or higher and 8 ½” for the longest side.
  • Images should be horizontal (landscape).
  • Entries will be accepted until 5 pm (EST) on June 21st
  • Submit only your own original work.
  • Photos should be appropriate for a general audience. Explicit content is expressly prohibited.
  • Post-processing and digital manipulation is not allowed, but minor adjustments to contrast, filtration, subtle burning, and dodging are acceptable.
  • All entries become the property of NJSGC and may be used by the organization for other educational or marketing materials (the twelve finalists will receive an additional waiver for signature prior to publication of the calendar).
  • Do not include any logos or text on the photo.
  • By submitting your photo to this contest, you grant NJSGC permission to publicly display, reproduce, and use the photographs in all manner and media for any and all purposes, including related promotional purposes, in perpetuity. You also warrant that the photo is your original work and does not violate the copyright or any other personal or property right of any third party, and that you may be required to and can obtain any and all releases and permissions necessary for its use in the production of our calendar, including releases for any recognizable faces, unless they are incidental to a larger scene (e.g., a group of sunbathers on the beach).

Winners will be announced prior to the July Fourth holiday. These images will be used to create the 2025 NJSGC downloadable desktop calendar (https://njseagrant.org/desktop-calendars/), which will also feature useful coastal facts and information to help locals and visitors learn more about and appreciate the Jersey Shore.

To view last year’s winners, please click here.

Marine Debris Community Action Coalition: Eco-Ambassador Solutions Lab

May 9th, 2024

Are you a middle or high school student interested in helping the environment? Do you want to help with scientific research and make a difference in your community at the same time? Become an ECO AMBASSADOR! Be part of the solution!

The Eco Ambassadors Solutions Lab is a dynamic and immersive virtual initiative designed for high school students passionate about environmental sustainability, global citizenship, and technical skills development. This global eight-week program aims to empower students with a comprehensive understanding of local sustainability challenges and their intersection with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through a blend of interactive virtual sessions, digital hands-on activities, and technical training, students will explore geospatial technologies and data-driven research, global citizenship, sustainable development, digital storytelling, and engage with experts while gaining valuable insights into how these tools and knowledge can be leveraged for achieving sustainability.

The theme for this year’s program is “Ocean, Rivers, and Water Bodies in Our Backyard”, centering around SDG 6, SDG 13, and SDG 14, and is sponsored by New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium. We invite students keen on delving into water and micro-plastic science, engaging with experts, students, policymakers, and more to apply for this enlightening program. The program is entirely virtual and is provided free of charge for participating students. Final projects/solutions are required to be submitted in the ArcGIS StoryMap format, and licenses will be awarded to students who actively participate in the sessions.

Complete this registration form by May 31, 2024 to apply to the 2024 Eco Ambassadors Solutions Lab run by the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) of the Climate School at Columbia University and SDGs.  You can review previous years’ programs at https://sdgstoday.org/eco-ambassadors-program.

Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, our nation is investing in transformational projects in climate, energy and the environment, and as a result NOAA has tasked Sea Grant with working towards creating clean and safe water for all citizens through marine debris prevention and removal efforts. This project builds upon Columbia University Center for Sustainable Development’s Eco-Ambassador Solutions Lab / Eco Ambassador Program that equips youth participants with scientific knowledge and skills to promote circular economy, via development of solutions for mitigating plastic use and establishment of sustainable solutions for management and stewardship of plastic waste within their communities. The project is a collaborative effort with New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) and New York Sea Grant (NYSG) to not only develop timely and effective marine debris curricula but to also expand environmental literacy in communities in New Jersey and New York urban watersheds.

Sea Grant Takes Center Stage in Oceanography Special Issue Including Two Featured New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Projects

May 1st, 2024

Sea Grant-funded research and work with coastal and Great Lakes communities across the nation are being highlighted in a special issue of “Oceanography,” the official journal of The Oceanography Society. This special issue, published in April 2024, Volume 37 entitled Sea Grant: Science Serving America’s Coastlines and People features 36 articles contributed by Sea Grant authors across 29 programs and the National Sea Grant Office.

The articles cover a diverse range of topics including projects that advance aquaculture, marine debris research, green infrastructure, science communication and community partnerships, highlighting the wide scope of contributions Sea Grant makes to the environmental and marine sciences. The special issue included coverage from BEach SAFEly, a collaborative social media project between New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and New York Sea Grant that focused on safety on the beaches during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, another article features how Sea Grant programs enhance or sustain investments in regional collaborative networks and planning efforts that leverage multiple partners, expertise, and funding sources to rapidly translate science innovations for broad application by coastal communities. As an example, the New Jersey Coastal Resilience Collaborative (NJCRC) is a network established to foster sustainable and resilient coastal communities and ecosystems. Organized initially in 2016, the Collaborative has been facilitated by New Jersey Sea Grant since 2019 and has grown to include over 75 member organizations. The NJCRC brings together interested parties and serves as a community of practice for the state while also providing connections for technical assistance. Efforts like these multiply the capacity of Sea Grant programs. The article also highlights a NJSGC partnership with the Department of Defense that focuses on resilience of Naval Weapons Station Earle.

Read more about the two NJSGC projects that were featured below:

  • Rising Together in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
    By Keri Kaczor, Rosanna ‘Anolani Alegado, Katy Hintzen, Lauren Ching, Michael Lieberman, Sandra Chang, Eileen Nakano, Angela Sy, David Horio, Kaeo Tam, Vivek R. Nerurkar, Ashley Smyth, Angela Collins, Kathleen Fallon, Paul Focazio, and Samantha Kreisler
  • Sea Grant Programs Build Resilience to Coastal Climate Hazards
    By Ian Miller, Mary Collins, Michelle Covi, Parker Gassett, Holly Abeels, Karina Alvarez, Juliana Barrett, Savanna Barry, Mona Behl, Renee Collini, Laura Engeman, Phyllis Grifman, Laura Kerr, Kate McClure, Christopher Petrone, Laurie Richmond, Pamela Rubinoff, and Danielle Swallow

“Sea Grant’s success and impact will continue to rely on the power of collaboration,” said Jonathan Pennock, director of the NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program. “This special issue showcases and celebrates the breadth of Sea Grant’s work. The articles in this special issue highlight projects from across the Sea Grant network and include contributions from 175 authors and over 50 external partners.”

 

The ‘COASTodian’ Newsletter – Winter 2024 Edition

April 12th, 2024

Find out what NJSGC and our partners have been up to this past season in the Winter 2024 edition of the COASTodian:

–Highlights from the 2024 New Jersey Coastal Resilience Collaborative Conference

–New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Presents Award to Top High School Student Researchers

–Marine Fisheries Regulations Finalized for 2024

–Research Spotlight: Civic Scientists and Students Collaborating to Protect Water Quality in the Lower Raritan

–Education Updates

And much, much more!

NJSGC Accepting Applications for the 2024 Apprenticeship in Shellfish Aquaculture Program (ASAP)

April 4th, 2024

Apprenticeship in Shellfish Aquaculture Program (ASAP) is a unique new training concept for New Jersey high school students ages 16 and older to gain understanding about the aquaculture industry through education and practice. With a combination of in-person instruction and on-farm work experience, participants will discover the inner workings of shellfish aquaculture, gain entry level work skills, and learn what it takes to get food from the farm to our tables.

A collaboration of New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, Rutgers University’s Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory and industry partners, ASAP brings participants closer to the knowledge and understanding of shellfish aquaculture as one of New Jersey’s emerging industries that produces an important food source and contributes to coastal economies. The foundations of aquaculture science and technology are the heart of the program that incorporates industry practices and basic skills training with real-world experiences. Apprentices learn and gain valuable experiences with paid summer work, mentorship by program facilitators and industry professionals, and support from fellow participants.

Are you interested in joining a great group of individuals who want to learn more about aquaculture biology and technology and the opportunities in this fast-growing industry?  Click here to learn more about the application. Applications are due May 1, 2024.

This project is sponsored by New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium with funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Sea Grant, under grant #NOAA-OAR-SG-2023-2007550, Special Projects “D”.

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Mourns the Loss of Two Pivotal Members

April 2nd, 2024

Howard “Howie” Parish, a dedicated member of the Board of Trustees for New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium passed away on January 2, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of unwavering commitment to education and community service. Howie’s contributions spanned over four decades, leaving an indelible mark on the Consortium and the lives of those he touched.

Howie began his journey with the Consortium in October 1977 when he joined as a Member Representative (NJCU), eager to make a difference in the higher education landscape of New Jersey. His passion and dedication soon saw him ascend to the role of State College Representative of the Board of Trustees in October 1994, where he served tirelessly for a three-year term, advocating for the interests of students and faculty alike. Recognized for his exceptional leadership qualities and steadfast dedication, Howie was appointed Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees in October 1998, a position he held with distinction until his passing. As Vice Chairman, Howie played a pivotal role in shaping the strategic direction of the Consortium and NJCU.

Throughout his tenure, Howie’s wisdom, integrity, and compassion earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues, students, and faculty members at NJCU and his colleagues at NJSGC. His unwavering commitment to our mission and vision served as an inspiration to all who had the privilege of working alongside him.

Howie Parish will be remembered not only for his remarkable achievements but also for the warmth and sincerity with which he approached every interaction. His presence will be sorely missed, but his legacy will endure as a testament to the power of dedication, compassion, and service to others.

Barracks building 22 restored // Former Executive Director Claire Antonucci cuts the ribbon for NJSGC’s grand opening at Fort Hancock in Sandy Hook, NJ on July 12th, 2010.
From left: Dr. Howard Parish (NJSGC Board of Trustees), Pete McCarthy (Unit Coordinator; NPS), Sean T. Kean (former State Senator; 2008-2012), Claire Antonucci (NJSGC Former Executive Director), Guy Hembling (Charles B. Hembling and Son, construction firm), Deborah Quinn (NJSGC Director of Human Resources and Administration) Credit: Marsha Samuel (former NJSGC Communications Specialist)

It is with heavy hearts that we bid farewell to Dr. Louise Wootton, a beloved member of the NJSGC community. Dr. Wootton’s passing leaves a profound void in the hearts of all who knew her. She joined Georgian Court University in 1997 as an assistant professor in the Biology Department and became an associate professor, professor, and chair of the department. In 1988, Dr. Wootton became a member representative of NJSGC for Georgian Court University from 1998 to 2023 and served on the Board of Trustees from 2021 to 2023. Her dedication to her profession and compassionate nature touched countless lives, leaving an indelible mark on our community. In addition to her many accolades and research projects with NJSGC, Dr. Wootton also participated in many other causes including cat rescues and Mercy Garden. As we mourn her loss, let us also celebrate her remarkable life and the legacy of kindness and service she leaves behind. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones during this difficult time. Dr. Louise Wootton will be deeply missed but never forgotten.

Louise on a trip with her husband and in her garb for a graduation at Georgian Court
University. (David Williams/patch.com)

We’re Hiring!

March 29th, 2024

Love what New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium does? We are currently hiring for 2 positions at our Sandy Hook office:

Field Instructor: The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC), a non-profit organization on Sandy Hook, is hiring part-time field instructors for their K-12 Education Program and Scout Program. NJSGC provides students and scouts with dynamic ocean science programs that may include but not be limited to outdoor experiential learning activities such as seining, interactive games, scientific demonstrations and laboratory experiments. Join a great group of people that love the beach, the outdoors and sharing their knowledge with students to promote a love of environmental science. Gain hands-on educational experience and work in one of the most unique natural “classroom” environments in New Jersey, Gateway National Recreation Area-Sandy Hook Unit. Click here to view the full job description.