Balloons seem great for celebrations. Like buoyant billboards, they declare love, joy and celebration at birthdays, weddings, graduations and other special occasions.
But balloons can kill.
Birds, turtles, dolphins, whales and other animals commonly mistake balloons for food, which can harm or even kill them. In addition, many animals can become entangled in balloon strings, which can strangle them.
Surveys of beach litter show the amount of balloons and balloon pieces found on the beach have tripled in the past 10 years.
The old saying is: If you love something, let it go. With balloons and nature, the opposite is true. Show your love for the environment by holding on to your balloons. Please don't ever release them outdoors. Instead, choose an alternative to balloon releases. Do a flower or tree planting. Toss wildflower seed bombs into a field. Use ribbons, bunting, cakes or banners to make a statement. Paint rocks, light candles and blow bubbles. Try kites, garden spinners or pinwheels for something dynamic and festive. This website has a host of options.
There are plenty of creative ways to celebrate a special day that don't involve adding more plastic pollution to the environment.
The American Littoral Society cares for the coast. Our work includes debris and beach cleanups. Please consider helping us continue to care for the coast.
It’s hard to imagine the difficulties of people living at latitude 37 degrees north when coming to the equator in northern Brazil. It challenges even the hardiest of biologists. But after three days our team has not only acclimated but accomplished surveys in two separate estuaries.
Ruddy turnstone multiyear flight recorded by a geolocator caught in Maranhoa Brazil.
By Larry Niles, LJ Niles Associates LLC
We leave a cold and dark New Jersey with mixed feelings for our destination to tropical Brazil. It will be warm and sunnyish – though forecasts predict drenching thunderstorms threatening us every day of our trip. We will explore a very new place, the ocean coast of Para, a largely unsurveyed coast known to be a wintering shorebird mecca. At the same time, we will undergo trials experienced by few biologists. Zika is prevalent in Para, but recent cases of malaria are equally alarming. Of course, one must be ever vigilant for food and water pathogens. Last year, I developed food poisoning ending me up in a rural hospital, with a room full of very sick people. On arrival, I wondered what comes next?
A small part of the sprawling city of Sao Jose de Ribamar.
Thanks to Jim Nickels of Monmouth University there are now several water meters installed at Wreck Pond. These meters will be used to record water depth, temperature, and salinity. The data collected from these meters will be compared to data collected by the Society’s own water meter as well as data collected in the citizen science program to better assess some of the impacts of the new fish passage culvert on the pond.
One of the things these data will tell us is how water levels fluctuate in the pond during different tidal and weather conditions. This could not be timelier, given the recent nor’easter that struck New Jersey. This is the first storm to have hit Wreck Pond since the installation of the new culvert, and while the data are not yet analyzed, we do know that Wreck Pond did not flood, with residents saying the water level did not rise much above the normal high tide mark.
The storm did cause flooding elsewhere in New Jersey.
On your mark, get set, run over to the registration page for the 2nd Annual Lobster Run. Registration for the 5k Run/Walk to Care for the Coast opens Wednesday, Feb. 1.
The event will be held Saturday, April 15 in Asbury Park, NJ, with a time-trial start any time from 9-10 a.m. The course is a down-and-back on the beautiful Asbury Park boardwalk and registration can include a lobster or vegetarian breakfast buffet.
Bring your binoculars and join us on a trek through Sandy Hook to observe the seals and waterfowl that overwinter in New Jersey. Seal and winter waterfowl walks are scheduled for 10 a.m. on the following days: Friday, Feb. 3, Wednesday, Feb. 15, Saturday, Feb. 25 and Monday, March 6.
Mark your calendar for the television debut of the documentary "Saving Jamaica Bay," which will air on two New York/New Jersey public television stations in February.
The documentary, which tells the story of how one community fought government inaction and overcame Hurricane Sandy to clean up and restore the largest open space in New York City, prominently features Don Riepe, Director of the Littoral Society's Northeast Chapter. Showings are scheduled for WNET Thirteen at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 and WLIW 21 at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26. Both stations are part of the WNET family of channels.
Hopes are the New York PBS premiers will lead to airings of the film at PBS stations around the US. WNET 13, which is one of the New York Media family of stations, airs in northern and central New Jersey, parts of Connecticut, and the greater New York City region.
A nor’easter hammered the east coast from the Delmarva Peninsula to Maine on January 23-24. The weather event spawned winds in excess of 60 mph in New Jersey, along with torrential rain, rough surf and coastal flooding throughout the regions.
The American Littoral Society has been working for years on projects intended to protect beaches and restore wetlands. In the Delaware Bay area of New Jersey the Society has been constructing off-shore reefs designed to lessen the force of waves hitting the shore and reduce the effects of storm surge. In Spring Lake, NJ the Society just finished construction of a fish passage that will not only improve water quality in a coastal lake, but also reduce flooding the surrounding communities. In New York City's Jamaica Bay, the Society has been rebuilding saltmarshes because they protect the mainland as a buffer against coastal storms and flooding. Both reefs and marshes also provide excellent homes for all sorts of wildlife.
The day after the storm, American Littoral Society staff visited restoration sites around Delaware and Jamaica bays, and Spring Lake's Wreck Pond to see how things held up and gauge whether the work help provide any protection.
On Saturday, January 16 the American Littoral Society held a training session for people who would like to be part of the citizen science monitoring program at Wreck Pond.
Additional training sessions are scheduled for January 21 and 28 at 10 a.m. in Spring Lake Borough Hall, 423 Warren Avenue, Spring Lake, NJ. At them volunteers will be trained in the tests they need to conduct and how to use the equipment that will be provided.
Wreck Pond is a 73-acre coastal pond located on the border of Spring Lake and Sea Girt, NJ. The American Littoral Society, in partnership with several public and private entities, helped construct a fish passage that will connect the pond to the ocean. The passage — made from 600 feet of box culvert — will improve water quality in the pond, provide better flood control to the surrounding area, and allow fish to move into and out of the pond.
Those who become Wreck Pond Citizen Science Monitors, will help us gain valuable information on the effects of the fish passage on pond water level, salinity and temperature. Bird monitors will help track long-term use of the pond and the surrounding areas by shorebirds including endangered Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) and threatened Red Knots (Calidris canutus). The information collected in this program will ultimately assist us in determining the overall success of the project.
If you are interested in becoming a Wreck Pond Citizen Science Monitor or would like more information, please contact Julie Schumacher at: Julie@littoralsociety.org.
A bill to ban possession or sale of shark fins are on the agenda for the New Jersey Assembly’s Environment and Solid Waste Committee on Thursday January, 19.
The American Littoral Society continues to support passage of bill A3945 (and its counterpart in the state Senate, S2044) because eliminating the market for shark fins is crucial to shark protection. Approximately 100 million sharks are killed globally each year, and one of the major incentives for this is the shark fin trade. Bill sponsors are Assemblymen Reed Gusciora, Herb Conaway Jr., and Nicholas Chiaravalloti.