The Littoral Society and a coalition of environmental organizations are asking Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey to immediately release the New Jersey Protecting Against Climate Threats (NJPACT) rules that would require the use of updated rainfall data for flood hazard regulations, potentially saving lives and untold dollars in property damage from future storms. The updates were called for in the administration’s executive and administrative orders in January 2020, but new regulations have yet to be released.
“The best time to act was yesterday, the second-best time is now,” said Lucia Ruggiero, Delaware Bayshore Program Director, American Littoral Society. “We need to take unified action across the state to protect people and property from the threats of climate change; releasing the NJPACT rules is a crucial step.”
In 2020, under Executive Order No. 100, former NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Catherine McCabe issued an administrative order requiring NJDEP to begin a regulatory reform effort to help reduce greenhouse gases and other climate pollutant emissions while making our natural and built environments more resilient to the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid.
Each summer, young adults come to the American Littoral Society to join the Restoration Corps, a youth employment and education program. Also known as R-Corps, the program is specifically designed to engage young people in meaningful environmental projects.
Currently the program operates from May through August out of the NE Chapter Office in Jamaica Bay, NY and the Delaware Bayshore office in Millville, NJ. Participants from local high schools and colleges lend a hand with an array of Littoral Society events and projects, including cleanups, shoreline and habitat restoration, community activities, festivals, rain garden installations, and so much more.
Jamaica Bay R-Corps
The Jamaica Bay R-Corps program began in 2012 with just a small crew of young volunteers that worked towards the goal of cleaning up and restoring Jamaica Bay shorelines and wetlands. Their work over the years has had a lasting impact on the bay and their passion for the environment has had an effect on those around them in many ways.
A community drop-off site for recycling shells is the latest step for the Littoral Society’s “Shuck It, Don’t Chuck It!” shell recycling program. Check out all that's happening!
Community Drop-off Site
We have our first community drop-off site, which is located at the Rumson Municipal Boat Ramp, 9 Avenue of Two Rivers, Rumson, NJ. Just look for the bright yellow trash bins.
Anyone can stop by and drop their used shells any time. It doesn't have to be oysters! Scallop, clam, and mussel shells are welcome too.
We found our oyster transport vehicle to boost our shell collection efforts! At the moment, the truck doesn’t look much different than your average Dodge pickup. But work is underway to make it more on brand. Imagine one of our eye-catching yellow Operation Oyster t-shirts on wheels.
While the truck may not be fully tricked out, it's already in shell-hauling service. So far we've recycled nearly 60,000 pounds of shell. That’s nearly 30 tons - over half a million shells - that will be used for Littoral Society restoration projects such as living shorelines and oyster reefs.
Thanks to the hard work of the school students, staff and community members, there are more than 1,500 new culms of American beachgrass on the beach along Sadowski Parkway Waterfront Park in Perth Amboy, NJ. The work took place on Thursday, April 14, with students from Perth Amboy’s Academy of Urban Leadership Charter School (AULCS) joining the Littoral Society along the beach at the end of 2nd street.
Part of the Littoral Society’s Grasses in Classes program, the planting marked the end of a program partnership that began in 2019 with the intent of shoring up the town’s dunes while empowering students and others from the community to increase their knowledge of coastal resiliency. The Grasses in Classes program highlights the unmet need to help improve neglected or ignored beachfronts that can help protect coastal municipalities from the effects of climate change.
The program in Perth Amboy started with an assembly for over 150 students, where they learned about the role that dunes play in protecting coastlines, the importance of native beachgrasses such as American beachgrass, and the impact that non-native species (otherwise known as invasive species) on dune environments in New Jersey.
Atlantic striped bass populations are in distress. Again.
That could have serious implications for both the ecology of the ocean and the economies that depend on this popular fish.
Since the establishment of the American Littoral Society’s Fish Tagging Program, Atlantic striped bass, commonly referred to as stripers, have been one of the favorite fish for our members to tag and release.
A long-lived, migratory fish that can be found from Maine to Florida in the United States, they spend the majority of each year in brackish, estuarine waters or the ocean, then move into fresh waters to spawn in the spring. This means our taggers are able to catch, tag and release stripers in the ocean in every state on the east coast as well as far up freshwater rivers such as the Hudson.
UPDATE AND ACTION ALERT: Add your voice to ours in opposing the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) proposal that would endanger Delaware Bay horseshoe crabs and the migratory shorebirds (like the Red Knot) which depend on them.
Overharvesting of horseshoe crabs by the bait and biomedical industries has put a severe strain on the ecological connection between horseshoe crabs and shorebirds like the threatened Red Knot. Although the Red Knot population is perilously low, the ASMFC has proposed allowing the harvest of female horseshoe crabs, whose eggs provide the food that fuels the final leg of the birds' journey to Arctic nesting grounds.
The next step in the ASMFC decision-making process on changing horseshoe crab harvest controls involves public hearings at agencies from the states along Delaware Bay, including New Jersey and Delaware (details below). Anyone can attend the hearings or submit comments via email or mail.
Even though agreed upon conservation targets have not been reached, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is proposing changes to horseshoe crab harvest controls that could have a devastating effect on a threatened shorebird, the Delaware Bay ecosystem, and the economies related to both.
The Littoral Society and partners are working to convince the ASMFC not to take a step back on protections for horseshoe crabs. You can help by sending your objections directly to ASMFC (find details below).
Horseshoe crabs play a vital role to the Delaware Bay ecosystem, as their eggs provide nourishment for imperiled shorebirds such as the federally threatened Red Knot. Each year, thousands of Red Knots fly over 9,000 miles from Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America to breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle. The Delaware Bay is a major stopover point during this long journey, where the Red Knots feast on horseshoe crab eggs to gain the necessary weight to fly the remainder of the way to the Arctic Circle.
Horseshoe crabs play a vital role in the Delaware Bay ecosystem, as their eggs provide nourishment for imperiled shorebirds such as the federally threatened Red Knot. Each year, thousands of Red Knots (a bird about the size of an American Robin) fly over 9,000 miles from Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America to breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle. The Delaware Bay is a major stopover point during this long journey, where the Red Knots feast on horseshoe crab eggs in order to gain the necessary weight to have the energy to make it the remainder of the way to the Arctic Circle.
The overharvesting of horseshoe crabs by the bait and biomedical industries has put a severe strain on the ecological connection between horseshoe crabs and Red Knots. Fewer spawning crabs means fewer eggs and therefore fewer Red Knots. In 1998, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) adopted a fishery management plan for the horseshoe crab harvest. Since the 2013 fishing season, the ASMFC has set harvest quotas using an ARM (Adaptive Resource Management) Framework that links the allowable harvest to the Red Knot stopover population.
Each year, the ASMFC has selected the same allowable harvest totals based on this framework, which is 500,000 males and zero females. It was agreed that the prohibition on harvesting female horseshoe crabs would not be lifted until the Delaware Bay region hosts at least 81,900 Red Knots or 11.2 million female horseshoe crabs. Despite the fact that neither of these scenarios has occurred yet, the ASMFC has recently proposed changes that would result in lifting the prohibition on harvesting female horseshoe crabs, further imperiling the food supply for the remaining Red Knots.
This is coming at a time when Red Knots are far from stable. The average Red Knot count at Tierra del Fuego for 2018-2020 declined more than 75 percent from average counts in the 1980s and 2000. In 2021, only 6,800 Red Knots were counted, which is by far the lowest count since surveys began. By allowing female horseshoe crabs to be harvested, there will be less available eggs and that will put further strain on an already delicate Red Knot population.
You can take action:
Over the past few decades, huge strides have been made to improve the waters of the Hudson-Raritan watersheds, which include the ports in New York and New Jersey, as well as the Hudson, Mohawk, Raritan, Passaic, Hackensack and Bronx rivers.
However, the New York – New Jersey Watershed Protection Act would supercharge those efforts by establishing a $50 million a year federal fund for restoration similar to existing funds for Long Island Sound and Chesapeake Bay.
Recently, the bill, which has been championed for a decade by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), passed in the House of Representatives as part of a larger funding package. Now it must be taken up by the US Senate, where in January companion legislation was introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). You can help by thanking these sponsors and contacting your senators (find their contact info) to encourage support.
“Our waterways are key economic, environmental and recreational engines for our communities,” Congressman Tonko said. “Despite this, our New York-New Jersey Watershed—the most populated watershed in America—has been neglected without key federal investments that would serve our Capital Region and beyond. My legislation responds to that long-failed opportunity by providing federal support to facilitate local restoration projects that promote healthy ecosystems, increase coastal resilience, improve water quality, address the needs of communities facing environmental injustice, and increase public access across our historic Watershed. I’m delighted to advance this legislation that will bolster this vital resource for our communities to enjoy now and for years to come.”
Wednesday, July 20
Wednesday, August 3 and 17
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
American Littoral Society HQ
Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook Unit
GPS: 18 Hartshorne Drive
Pay What You Can
Register for July 20
Register for August 3
Register for August 17
Thursday, July 28
Noon - 1 p.m.
Meet at Horseshoe Cove – Lot L Parking
Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook Unit
GPS: Intersection of Hartshorne Drive and Atlantic Drive
Pay What You Can
Discover the diverse wildlife inhabiting our coast. After a short talk on the Society’s front porch, we will drive over to Horseshoe Cove on Sandy Hook Bay for a seining adventure. Participants are invited to help pull our 40-foot seine net through the bay, and experience the excitement of learning about the fish and other critters caught.
Wear clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting wet. Contact: email@example.com more information.
Oyster farmers from the Barnegat Oyster Collective and about 60 guests joined the American Littoral Society at McFly's On The Hook to enjoy a screening of "The Oyster Farmers" and some home grown oysters. We discussed New Jersey's growing aquaculture industry, the Littoral Society’s Operation Oyster and “Shuck It, Don’t Chuck It!” shell recycling program, as well as how oysters can play a key role in cleaning the state's bays and estuaries, while also protecting shorelines from storms. Then concluded the evening just in time to catch a great sunset on Sandy Hook.