Last month, the Trump Administration proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) under the guise of streamlining federal infrastructure projects. In reality, this proposal could make it easier for projects harmful to our ocean - like offshore drilling and seismic blasting - to be approved with little review for minimizing impacts to ocean habitat and marine wildlife. Not only that, but the new rules could also allow dirty fossil fuel projects, such as pipelines and coal fired power plants, to proceed because new environmental reviews could minimize and put off whether the project would contribute to climate change.
This sham effort to “expedite” environmental review of proposed federal projects is really just a way to ignore science, rubber stamp projects that will damage our ocean, and further fuel our rapidly warming climate. With New Jersey’s seas rising twice as fast as global mean sea level, New Jersey does not have the luxury to sit back and watch the Trump Administration dismantle crucial environmental safeguards like NEPA.
Not only does NEPA require robust environmental review of proposed federal projects, but it also invites and encourages the public’s voice. Yet this proposal would ironically minimize the opportunities for the public to express our concerns during the reviews of proposed projects.
The world’s population is expected to grow to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, with the majority of the population residing in urban areas. As a result, energy demand will increase exponentially, placing a massive responsibility on energy sectors and investors to harness energy sources that can service the increased demand without further contributing to climate change. Before considering what a sustainable energy future looks like, let’s explore the avenues where we are currently sourcing our energy from.
Worldwide, 65 to 70 percent of our energy comes from fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil. Almost 20 percent come from renewable sources like solar, wind, and hydropower. 13 to 15 percent is generated from nuclear fission and the remainder is sourced from other forms like geothermal or biomass. Each of these sources present an array of benefits and drawbacks regarding cost, waste, and environmental impacts.
The American Littoral Society has been working on a great project in partnership with the Vineland Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce. We’d love to share our progress so far!
Rotary, the Chamber, and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have joined us in creating a rain barrel painting competition between the elementary schools in Vineland, NJ. The competition serves as a way to get the kids working together on a project, promotes rain barrels as a way to save water outdoors, and serves as a teaching tool for the concept of water conservation.
The first step was to gather the supplies and put the barrels together. The Littoral Society and DEP provided the barrels, while Ace Plumbing in Vineland generously donated the other supplies. Then the Rotarians put everything together at during a meeting.
UPDATE: Monday, March 23
The American Littoral Society will be postponing or canceling scheduled public events for the indefinite future based on public health advisories from the states and US Centers for Disease Control.
We are looking forward to resuming our walks, workshops and other activities when that is safe. Please stay safe and healthy. We look forward to seeing you again when circumstances allow.
UPDATE: March 16, Noon
The National Park Service has asked that we cancel all our public events on Sandy Hook through March 29, and that we restrict public access to Littoral Society HQ, which is Building 18 on Officers Row in Gateway National Recreation Area's Sandy Hook Unit.
Please check the calendar on our website for the status of any events we have scheduled. If you have already registered for an upcoming event, we will send out notices if cancellation is required.
The rapidly developing situation with COVID-19 in our region demands a cautious response to protect the public welfare and to ensure that participants in American Littoral Society events enjoy themselves and are safe. We care about the coast, and we care about all of you who live or visit here, as well as those who share our fascination with marine life and their habitats.
As a result, we are going to postpone a few of our events in the coming week, and our staff will be taking steps to care for themselves which will keep them out of our offices. We do not take this decision lightly but see it as part of our responsibility to care for our membership and the public.
We will be determining whether to conduct upcoming Littoral Society walks, events and activities on a week-to-week basis.
Since there is still a month before our 5th Annual Lobster Run, we are moving forward in the hope that we will be able to host that event in Asbury Park on April 18. However, we are also working on a contingency plans in case of a future cancellation.
Stay tuned to our website and social media for updates.
Happy New Year to all from the American Littoral Society and a special thanks to 200-plus hardy souls who braved 20 mph winds to join us for our annual trek to the northern tip of Sandy Hook. While we once again failed in our effort to signal the folks on our Northeast Chapter walk out of Fort Tilden, it was still a great way to start 2020.
About 100 people turned out for the American Littoral Society Northeast Chapter walk out of Fort Tilden. Participants hiked along the beach, saw lots of long-tailed ducks, climbed up to the hawk watch platform (to shoot this video). After attempting to yell across the bite to Sandy Hook, everyone went to the Rockaway Artists building for champagne and coffee.
Update: NJ Assembly passes shark fin ban
Thanks to all who helped by contacting NJ state legislators. The General Assembly passed the shark fin ban on Monday, Nov. 25 by a vote of 53-18!
A bill to ban shark fin possession and trade in New Jersey will be voted on by the full General Assembly on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. The bill is supported by the American Littoral Society and other shark conservationists.
We believe enacting A4845 will prevent anyone in New Jersey from contributing to a fishing practice that is decimating shark populations. Please contact your member of the General Assembly and urge them to support this legislation. Click here to find your state legislator and their contact information.
"The Littoral Society and numerous other organizations are deeply concerned with the decline of shark populations, which are crucial to the health of the ocean," said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society. "We have been working for years to ban the possession, sale, trade or distribution of shark fins in order to help shark populations recover.
NJ Congressman Jeff Van Drew (center), joined American Littoral Society staff and military veterans at the Littoral Society's 5th Annual Veterans Day on the Bay.
At the American Littoral Society's 5th Annual Veterans Day on the Bay celebration the Society dedicated the reefs built at Cooks Beach to the US Navy.
The intertidal reefs at Cooks Beach were built by volunteers and Littoral Society staff in August 2019 during the Littoral Society's annual Shell-A-Bration. Over the past five years the Society has engineered eight reefs designed to preserve Delaware Bay beaches restored following Superstorm Sandy.
Attendees at the event were once again given the opportunity to honor the veterans they hold dear by inscribing that special person's name on a shell that was placed on the reefs.
The Littoral Society was honored to be joined NJ Congressman Jeff Van Drew.
Littorally Local won't just feature a Navesink cruise, great food from Fresh Bistro and Honey Brook Organic Farm, live music, and an open bar. We also have some great items on sale in a silent auction.
Among those items:
- Wine baskets provided by American Wine Society, New Jersey Chapter
- Four day weekend at Building 21 on Sandy Hook (Sandyhookrentals.com)
- NY Giants vs. Miami Dolphins tickets (2) with parking pass
- Glass blowing at Hot Sand in Asbury Park
- Variety of Sea Bright restaurant gift cards
- 11x17 framed "littoral" photo by award-winning photographer Don Riepe
- Pilates package at The Pilates Project
- Coolsculpting with Dr. Peter Hetzler
- Botox with Dr. Peter Hetzler
Be there to bid!
More info and tickets at https://www.littoralsociety.org/littorallylocal.html
Littorally Local, will be more than a fun evening with great food.
Besides a Navesink River cruise, that will explore the estuary's natural history and wildlife, participants will learn about the American Littoral Society’s work in New Jersey, New York and beyond.
In addition to Operation Oyster, the Society's effort to bring oysters back to New Jersey's waters, we'll be talking to folks about "Shuck It, Don't Chuck It!," our shell recycling program in New Jersey's restaurants; our work restoring marshes and shorelines along Delaware, Barnegat and Jamaica Bay to help prepare our coastlines to weather future storms; our education programs such as Sea Quest, Grasses in Classes, and Close Encounters with the Coast that aim to provide a hands-on environmental experience for children and adults; as well as our ongoing efforts to protect beach access in the state and promote ocean planning around the United States.
But make no mistake, there will be good food and fun, too.
Click here for more info and to buy your ticket.
This year we're thinking local, littorally local.
Since 1961, the American Littoral Society has been caring for the coast in New Jersey and beyond.
Based on Sandy Hook, we see the beauty and feel the energy that draws people to coastal communities. We work to protect and restore that splendor.
We also strive to bring people onto the sand and into the water so they can gain a deeper understanding of how nature works on our beaches and in our bays.
You can help us continue and expand that work by attending Littorally Local, an evening of food and fun that will celebrate the shore and everything it has to offer, while supporting our efforts to protect it.