NJ’s beaches are in great shape, says report
Beaches at the Jersey shore are ready for tourists, vacationers and day trippers this holiday weekend, according to a report released Thursday.
The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium's 13th annual State of the Shore report shows the winter left most beaches in pretty good shape heading into the summer season. In fact, any sand that was eroded during the winter likely remains just offshore and will eventually get pushed up onto the beach, thereby naturally restoring it.
Water quality has also tested high.
"We did water quality testing at 215 beaches across the state and our first two sets of tests have come back with 100 percent of the tests coming back within standards, so water quality is excellent," said state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin.
Work to keep the water quality high is currently underway and will continue through mid-September. Martin said coastal surveillance flights take place six days a week to look for debris in the water, algae blooms or anything else that may be a problem.
New Jersey's ocean and bay beaches were only closed 24 times last summer out of almost 70,000 beach days. Twelve were for precautionary reasons and three beaches were closed after an extreme storm event.
"Beaches were open 99.9 percent of the time, which is a phenomenal number for us. Our goal is to do the same thing this year. We're always shooting for 100 percent," Martin said.
Shore construction and replenishment projects to make wider beaches, dunes and berms are currently underway in Ocean, Cape, May and Monmouth counties.
New Jersey has a $42 billion a year tourism industry, but Martin said it goes deeper than revenues.
"Besides the straight numbers on the economy, it's (the shore) part of our culture in the state of New Jersey and it's a great place for families and that's the image we want to keep," Martin said.
The DEP and Rutgers University have developed an interactive website and map to show real-time status of monitored beaches at www.njbeaches.org.