After successfully developing interactive websites to assist the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) in monitoring various aspects of water quality along the New Jersey coastline, the NJDEP’s Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring solicited Josh Kohut, associate professor of marine and coastal sciences and Lucas Marxen, assistant director of research technology at the Rutgers NJAES Office of Research Analytics, to develop a new beach water monitoring system. Known as the Coastal Cooperative Monitoring Program, it provides a seamless integration between NJDEP’s water quality testing procedures, reporting requirements to the EPA and public notification of beach advisories and closures.
For several months, Kohut, Marxen and team worked closely with NJDEP staff to develop a fully automated, database-driven web application comprising an administrative portal that allows for water sample data entry, advisory and closure tracking, reporting features and website administration. There’s also a public portal providing information on beach advisories and closures along with other pertinent information.
According to Kohut, as data is entered on the administrative portal, beach statuses are updated in real-time, allowing NJDEP staff to track water quality issues and alerting the public of possible safety issues. In addition to the monitoring components, the site also provides the public and researchers the ability to download historical beach water quality and notification data.
After a successful beta test this spring, the website was launched publicly on May 22 and has garnered praise from the NJDEP and its county partners.
“This project has demonstrated how data collection, monitoring and outreach tasks can be streamlined through the use of data-driven web applications,” said Marxen. “Our partnership with the NJDEP has greatly expanded its capacity to monitor and analyze the State’s coastal water quality and deliver this information to their stakeholders.”