Monmouth County Environmental Newsletter: February 2019 Edition

Dorbrook Park, Colts Neck. Carla Mallm

Dorbrook Recreation Area, Colts Neck. Source: Carla Mallm

Monmouth County Seal 2018

Monmouth County Environmental Newsletter:  February 2019

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Upper Freehold Township: 10,000 Acres Preserved

Jersey Longhorn (2)

Jersey Longhorn LLC, Upper Frreeohold, 59-acre property is preserved. Source: Sean Pizzio.

As 2018 came to a close, Upper Freehold Township reached a significant milestone. On December 21, 2018 the Monmouth County Agriculture Development Board (MCADB) acquired an agricultural easement on the 59-acre Jersey Longhorn LLC property on Route 526 in Upper Freehold. The Township now has over 10,000 acres of permanently preserved agricultural lands. That is 15.6 square miles of lands devoted to farming and restricted from further non agricultural development. 

The farm is an important link between previously preserved clusters of agricultural land. Jersey Longhorn LLC purchased the former Allentown Nursery site in 2014. It established Marty’s Place, a senior dog sanctuary, on the western side of the parcel and gradually converted the overgrown nursery stock on the eastern side of the property to field crops. It is this eastern lot that is now subject to the agricultural easement.

The County, Township and State Agriculture Development Committee all contributed funding to purchase the easement. Monmouth County initiated its Farmland Preservation Program in the 1980s and, with its partners, acquired the first long-term Upper Freehold agricultural easement in 1987. Upper Freehold now boasts the largest number of agricultural easements (102) of any municipality in New Jersey and is second in the state in terms of total acreage of easements enrolled in New Jersey’s Farmland Preservation Program. Monmouth County has over 15,387 acres of permanently preserved farmland spread throughout eleven municipalities.


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Raritan and Sandy Hook Bay Coastal Resilience Planning Study is Underway

1.15.19 TAC Meeting

A Technical Advisory Committee met to identify potential coastal resilience project sites in the Raritan and Sandy Hook Bay. Source: Linda Brennen.

In Dec. 2017, Monmouth County Division of Planning completed its Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) for Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Earle.  JLUS contained 37 recommendations for future planning, nine of which focus on climate resilience.  After receiving a grant from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment, the Division of Planning has commenced a follow up study: the Raritan Sandy Hook Bay Coastal Resilience Planning Study.  The goal of this study is to identify 10-12 potential projects that would support the coastal resilience of Naval Weapons Station Earle, its mission and protect public property and infrastructure that serves NWS Earle and the surrounding communities. The study area includes the entire Monmouth County Raritan and Sandy Hook Bayshore, north of NJ State Highway Rt. 36, between Cliffwood Beach and Gateway National Seashore Sandy Hook Unit. 

The planning process utilizes a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to assist in site selection and determining project alternatives. Representatives from federal, state and local government entities, including the US Army Corps of Engineers NY District, US Coast Guard Sandy Hook Station, NJDEP, NWS Earle, the Monmouth County divisions of Planning, Engineering, Mosquito Control, Office of Emergency Management, Parks System, the eight Bayshore municipalities in the study area and local environmental groups that have completed similar projects have been invited to sit on the Committee.  On Jan. 15, the TAC completed a data gathering mapping exercise lead by project consultants from Michael Baker International to identify current coastal resilience projects and potential project sites in the study area. The TAC will meet again in March to continue site selection.

CWF Piping Plover Chick -Bill Dalton

Piping plover chick. Source: Bill Dalton

Piping Plover Report 2018

Conserve Wildlife NJ and the Division of Fish and Wildlife released the 2018 Piping Plover Project Report. The 2018 results show the number of piping plovers nesting in NJ in 2018 has declined by 9 percent compared to 2017. This is the second year in a row showing a decline.

Monmouth County continues to support the most pairs in the State but the number of pairs on County beaches has declined since 2017. Sandy Hook maintains the highest number of pairs per site with a total of 38 pairs, however more pairs were recorded in 2017 and 2016. Sea Bright supported 10 pairs, the highest number per municipal beach in the state. Two historic nesting sites have seen a resurgence. One nesting pair was recorded in Monmouth Beach South for the first time since 2004 and one pair was recorded at the Belmar-Shark River Inlet site for the first time since 2014. 

Piping plovers are listed as endangered under the NJ Endangered and Non-Game Species Act. They nest from the spring through fall in the open sand on beaches rather than in dune habitat. Threats to piping plovers include loss of habitat from development, predators like red fox, raccoons, feral and domestic cats, dogs, gulls and crows, flooding, beach recreation activities and other beach disturbances. Learn more about piping plovers here.

Read the Full Report

Monmouth County Audubon Society Seeking Volunteers

The Monmouth County Audubon Society (MCAS) is seeking volunteers for its Board. New volunteers are needed to assist the organization with its newsletter, website, publicity, program planning, and/or assist with the organization’s scholarship program.

MCAS, a chapter of the National Audubon Society, is a volunteer run non-profit dedicated to the enjoyment and study of nature, wildlife conservation, habitat protection and education. Meetings are open to member and non-members on the second Wednesday of each month September through May at Tower Hill Church, 255 Harding Road, Red Bank. At each meeting guest speakers address a wide variety of nature-related topics. Throughout the year MCAS hosts field-trips open to members and non-members. 

To learn more about the organization, please visit its website.  To become involved contact MCAS.

New Telecommunications Cable to Connect US to Europe Makes Land in Avon-By-The-Sea

A consortium of European and American companies plan to lead the installation of the HAVFRUE cable system,  an undersea transatlantic telecommunications network to provide connectivity between the United States and Europe. The cable will connect to the United States in Avon and cross the Atlantic Ocean 4,769 miles to Ireland, Norway, and Denmark. On Avon shores, the cable will be placed in an existing 5 inch diameter steel sub-oceanic bore pipe which extends from the Atlantic Ocean 2,444 feet to a beach manhole in Avon. Once on land, the cable will be fed through an existing subterranean conduit system to an existing cable terminal station at New Jersey Fiber Exchange (NJFX) in Wall Township. Learn more here.