In the beginning of February, NJ Governor Phil Murphy signed into law several pieces of legislation that advance important climate change adaptation policies and measures. Those included new directives on municipal land use and additional funding for the Blue Acres program.
The Littoral Society led efforts to increase money dedicated to blue acres, which is intended to reduce the number of buildings in flood-prone areas – such as the coast – that suffer repetitive losses.
The Society supported, through testimony and public organizing, an NJ Future-led campaign for statutory amendments to require municipalities to consider climate change as they undertake periodic land use master plan updates.
According to an article in NJ Spotlight, municipalities must now identify critical facilities such as roads and utilities that might be affected by hurricanes or sea-level rise; make plans to sustain normal life in the face of anticipated natural hazards, and integrate climate vulnerability with existing plans such as emergency management or flood-hazard strategies.
The American Littoral Society is paying tribute to tributaries in March because many of our projects focus on the waters that feed the bays and coastal areas which have been the cornerstone of the Society’s mission for the past 60 years.
Tributaries are as critical to an ecosystem as the respiratory system is to the human body. In addition to moving nutrients, sediment and other organic material throughout a watershed – that area of land that drains all the streams and rainfall to a common outlet – they serve as important habitat for numerous species.
Unfortunately, these vital systems are often at high risk in the United States, due to the adverse effects of encroaching development and contaminated stormwater runoff.
Situated along the Jersey shore between Spring Lake and Sea Girt Borough is Wreck Pond, a 73-acre tidally influenced coastal pond within the twelve-square-mile Wreck Pond Brook Watershed. Fed by three main tributaries, Wreck Pond drains water from these municipalities and four neighboring townships into the Atlantic Ocean.
American Littoral Society Releases Special Publication on Protecting Fish and Fish Habitat in the Mid-Atlantic
New Jersey - For almost sixty years, the American Littoral Society has worked to forge a path forward for coastal conservation and has done so, in large part, through the human connection to the ocean.
Today, the organization is releasing a new report entitled “Protecting Offshore Fish and Fish Habitat in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean.” The report focuses on the management and protection of important habitat and fishing areas in the face of a changing climate and increasing demands for use of ocean spaces. The report can be found at the accompanying website ProtectFish.org.
The report considers how the ocean is changing and how that impacts fishing. It takes a deep dive into New Jersey Prime Fishing Areas, special areas identified by the State of New Jersey that span along our Mid-Atlantic coastlines and open ocean, and how regulatory protections applied to those resources are implemented during the development and permitting of activities like offshore sand mining or wind development. The report also provides an overview of how Mid-Atlantic states from New York to Virginia protect fish and fish habitat through their federally approved Coastal Management Plans.
“We hope this report will provide the public, anglers, and coastal managers with a set of insights and recommendations to strengthen regional and state planning approaches, rules and policies to protect fish and fish habitat in the face of increasing demands for the use of ocean space and resources, and a changing climate,” says Tim Dillingham, Executive Director.
Shell-filled Hesco Baskets and Oyster Pens deployed as a pilot at Forked River Beach
Last year was challenging, but that didn’t stop habitat restoration work by the American Littoral Society. And thanks to the success of previous projects, along with being awarded a number of new grants, the Society and its restoration team have even bigger plans for 2021.
In the coming year, we will be highlighting a different habitat restoration project each month in order to keep friends and supporters of the Littoral Society better informed of the work we are doing, as well their short-term and long-term goals.
Despite an international pandemic that left the Society unable to host volunteer events, the Restoration team – which includes Shane, Zack, Quinn, Julie, Capt. Al Modjeski – got a few things done. Among those projects were:
Littoral Society Loses a Valued Member of Our Family With Passing of Fish Tagging Director Jeff Dement
On Thursday, Jan. 28, we received very sad news: Jeff Dement, long-time Fish Tagging Program Director for the Littoral Society, had passed away.
Jeff loved the Society, fish, trees, and science. The tagging program and its taggers were at the center of his professional life. He loved the science and the tales taggers tell.
He was a gifted educator and taught untold numbers of young people to fish – many of whom would never have had the opportunity but for Jeff and the Society’s programs that he helped create.
His love of all things natural (and historic when it came to Sandy Hook), and sharing that knowledge defined his passions.
He will be missed as one of our family, now gone. Please hold him in your thoughts or say a prayer tonight – whatever is your custom to show respect for the good things our lives received from his time with us.
The family is planning a private ceremony, but has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Littoral Society.
~ Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society
Thanks so much to those who attended the American Littoral Society's Growing Grassroots panel discussion on Dec. 16. I hope you found the discussion engaging and enlightening.
Watch the embedded recording of the panel (above) or click this link to watch it on the Society's YouTube channel, along with answers to outstanding questions, and action items to get started in your grassroots advocacy journey!
Read on for answers to questions from the webinar, as well as additional resources to aid your advocacy efforts.
By Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society
An explosion of people enjoying the water in kayaks, jet skis, paddle boards, tubes or just taking a dip is the result of recent improvements in water quality in the mainstem estuary of the Delaware River in the vicinity of Philadelphia, PA and Camden NJ. This exciting change demonstrates that the combination of actions by the Delaware River Basin Commission, federal, state and local agencies, citizens and clean water utilities to reduce pollution makes a difference! This improvement was celebrated this spring when American Rivers named the Delaware River its National River of the Year for 2020.
In the time following that award, the Coronavirus crisis has changed how we are thinking about getting together and living our lives. We are finding that the outdoors is the place to destress and recharge after all the different challenges that we are facing, from the pandemic and ensuing economic impacts to the movement for black lives and the struggle for racial justice.
For the first time in over 35 years, the American Littoral Society is going virtual with our annual New Year’s Day walks. Although Covid may have put a crimp in this tradition, you can still start the year with a walk in the great outdoors in two different ways.
First, the Society's staff put together a list of their favorite trails local to our offices and their homes on Alltrails.com. Click the first link to explore the list, or the second to search for other trails near you.
Or keep on your best PJ's, pull up a comfy chair, grab a hot cup of cocoa, and tune in to the Northeast Chapter's annual walk from the comfort of home via Facebook Live at 11 a.m. on Friday! Click Interested or Going through the Facebook event and you will be notified when the virtual walk begins.
Climate Change Mitigation: Creating an Inclusive and Responsible Offshore Wind Energy Future in our Ocean
The American Littoral Society recognizes the development of offshore wind as an important component in the fight against climate change by replacing demand for energy production from dirty, polluting fossil fuel sources with clean, renewable energy sources. Development of offshore wind must be responsibly sited, and guided by continuous stakeholder participation.
Governor Murphy has taken bold and swift action to make New Jersey a leader in climate mitigation, in large part, by setting robust renewable energy goals for the development of offshore wind farms to power our communities. The Governor’s plans also smartly required development of an Offshore Wind Strategic Plan (OWSP) by the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) as a roadmap to guide New Jersey to meet the statewide goal of 7500 Megawatts of energy coming from offshore wind by 2035.
In making New Jersey’s offshore wind goal a reality, wind energy projects will likely span hundreds of thousands of acres on leased ocean bottom off New Jersey’s coast, with the energy they produce cabled back to our shores. In fact, we already know that close to 100 wind turbines and 2 main cable routes will be built within the next couple of years just to meet the state’s first target for producing 1100 Megawatts of wind energy (Ocean Wind LLC).
Funding will help Fortescue Beach, located in Downe Township, NJ, to be better prepared for future extreme weather events
Work to restore Fortescue Beach began in 2015.
Downe Township, NJ, September 16, 2020 – Today, the American Littoral Society announced that it has received a $500,000 grant to improve horseshoe crab and shorebird habitat at South Jersey’s Fortescue Beach, while also making the shore more resistant to coastal storms and sea level rise.
The grant comes from the Resilient Communities Program, a collaboration between Wells Fargo and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) that aims to help communities better prepare for and respond to climate-related natural disasters by investing in green infrastructure. The Resilient Communities grant unlocks an additional $522,440 in matching funds from external sources for a total conservation impact of $1,022,440.
The project will improve the resiliency of 0.34 linear miles (5.8 acres) of important horseshoe crab spawning and red knot foraging beach habitat in Downe Township, NJ by creating up to 1,200 linear feet of hybrid living reef breakwaters that will minimize sand loss during winter storms. The project will engage eight local partners, 250 volunteers and reach 2,500 people through our existing outreach programs, which include horseshoe crab tagging and re-sighting.