Experts Says Man-o-War Mean Business — But Don’t Be Afraid to Go Swimming

North Jersey oceanographers say swimmers should not be overly alarmist about the recent influx of the potentially dangerous man-of-war jellyfish-like creatures on the Jersey Shore, as they have so far been few and far between and may soon be gone with a shift in wind patterns… But if you see one, remember- it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature. "When I hear ‘man-of-war,’ I pay attention. I feel the pain," said New Jersey State Climatologist Dave Robinson. "I know what it feels like to be stung by a man-of-war. Ever have a hot iron put to your foot? It wasn’t in New Jersey. It was in the Florida Keys, while I was doing marine science field work."… Recently, there have been strong and prevalent northeasterly wind patterns along the Jersey coast, according to Josh Kohut, associate professor of oceanography at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

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2015 Sustainable Raritan Conference Opens NY/NJ Dialogue on Future of Bay

SEBS Professors Steve Handel and Bonnie McCay participated in the "Towards a Shared Agenda" panel at the Raritan Bay conference.

SEBS professors Steven Handel and Bonnie McCay participated in the “Towards a Shared Agenda” panel at the Raritan Bay conference.

“Two States: One Bay, a bi-state conversation about the future of Raritan Bay” was the 2015 annual conference sponsored by the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative, a program of the Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. The conference, held June 12 at the Douglass Student Center at Rutgers, initiated a dialogue among representatives from New Jersey and New York that focused on the future of the bay that is flanked by both states.

The initiative hosts the annual conference to support the goals of the Sustainable Raritan River Collaborative in restoring the Raritan River. The collaborative has over 130 members, including environmental organizations, Raritan-based counties and municipalities, foundations and charities, businesses, and key regional, state and federal agencies. The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is one of the academic partners of the collaborative. [Read more…]

Shellfish and Students: Building Living Reefs in Southern New Jersey

What do thousands of southern New Jersey students, millions of young oysters and Gandy’s Beach have in common? They all benefit from Project PORTS- Promoting Oyster Restoration Through Schools- an education and community-based oyster restoration program, run out of Rutgers University’s Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory… Since 2007, Project PORTS has engaged school communities in a real world oyster restoration project, constructing a living oyster reef more than 5 acres in size near Gandy’s Beach in the upper Delaware Bay. To date, this reef located approximately one mile offshore, has provided habitat for more than 20 million oysters and counting, says Jenny Paterno, a recent Rutgers master’s program graduate, lab technician and project leader for Project PORTS… As a leader of classroom education and shell-building activities, Paterno recently completed her Master’s thesis on the diverse species which inhabit the Project PORTS Gandy’s Beach subtidal oyster reef, such as striped bass, weakfish, croakers and blue crab.

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Newly Launched Community Supported Fisheries Offer Biweekly Shares of Jersey Seafood

The Community Supported Fishery at the Rutgers Gardens Farm Market will be hosted by the Rutgers Animal Care meat sales program. From l-r: George Mathis; Gef Flimlin; Clint Burgher; Kelly Vuong, meat sales program; and Bruce Crawford, director of Rutgers Gardens.

The Community Supported Fishery at the Rutgers Gardens Farm Market will be hosted by the Rutgers Animal Care meat sales program. From l-r: George Mathis; Gef Flimlin; Clint Burgher; Kelly Vuong, meat sales program; and Bruce Crawford, director of Rutgers Gardens.

A growing number of New Jersey farms are offering community supported agriculture programs (CSAs) which allow customers to become a member or shareholder, providing them with a season’s worth of produce that they pay for in advance, and then pick up on a weekly or biweekly basis. A similar strategy to boost an allied industry, Jersey Seafood, has been in development in New Jersey since 2012. Through the efforts of the marine program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) of Ocean County, a community supported fishery (CSF) has operated for the past three years as part of Sea Salt CSA at B&B Farms in Galloway Township in Atlantic County. The pilot CSF in Atlantic County has spawned several new CSFs this year, with one in Ocean County at Beach View CSA, one at Heirloom Kitchens in Old Bridge (a culinary boutique), and one at the Rutgers Gardens Farm Market in New Brunswick. Plans are in the works for others. What distinguishes the New Jersey-model CSF from others around the U.S., is rather than have seafood pick-up at a particular boat or dock that would limit the number of species offered, Marine Extension Agent Gef Flimlin of RCE of Ocean County arranged to work with a variety of fishing docks and shellfish farmers to diversify the offerings. [Read more…]

Learning More to Help Restore the Barnegat Bay

It’s home to countless organisms, spanning 660 square miles. NJTV News joined Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin aboard a boat on the Barnegat Bay… Nearby, ReClam the Bay- a local non-profit- rakes for clams. Rutgers University’s Monica Bricelj says since the 1980s, there’s been a huge decline in the clam population… "Not very clear on what the reasons are at all, whether it’s habitat loss or changes in water quality, it’s not clear at all," she said… Bricelj and her team placed cages with juvenile clams in four sites throughout the bay to study their growth rates and survival. The highest growth rates occurred within relatively undeveloped protected areas. Aside from the research projects, a bay clean-up has become an annual event.

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