Posted by: Drew | March 24, 2009

Be a Bay Buddy:Connect the Drops from Your Yard to Barnegat Bay

Beachwood, NJ-  Clean Ocean Action (COA), Save Barnegat Bay (SBB), Ocean County Freeholders, and Beachwood Township joined together to launch the Barnegat Bay Challenge to engage homeowners and businesses to connect the drops to save Barnegat Bay. The groups also announced over 15 towns that have embraced the program and presented the first certified Bay Buddy’s with the official Lawn Medallions.

“Independent studies confirm that Barnegat Bay is suffocating from pollution. Now is the time for voluntary citizen actions to reverse the tide,” said Tavia Danch, Pollution Prevention Coordinator at COA.

The Barnegat Bay Buddy Program is a simple and easy stewardship program in which citizens can earn points by taking actions that will reduce the pollution entering the Bay. In addition, the Barnegat Bay Buddy Challenge helps individuals become better Bay stewards, and will incorporate them into a larger movement for collective citizen action to help Barnegat Bay.

The extraordinary Barnegat Bay ecosystem is essential to our quality of life, and to New Jersey’s economy. For many, Barnegat Bay is where they first learned how to fish and boat while others enjoy summer sunsets, crabbing, and clamming. Sadly, many of these joys are disappearing or are at great risk. “Both government and individuals must make changes if we are to restore Barnegat Bay,” said Willie deCamp, chairman of Save Barnegat Bay. “The Bay Buddy Program addresses the elements most accessible to us as citizens, the things we can do in our yards and homes.”

Excessive nitrogen from lawn care fertilizers, as well as other land-based pollution from pet waste, deforestation, overdevelopment, and air pollution are destroying the fragile and unique ecosystem of the Bay. “An important objective of the Bay Buddy program is the recognition and the understanding of the connection between our actions and the problems that are occurring in Barnegat Bay,” added Danch.

Making the challenge even greater is that the Bay’s watershed is over 425,117-acres encompassing 33 municipalities with a combined estimated population of 560,000 that increases to more than 900,000 during the summer months. With such a large area and so many people, it is evident that we need to work together to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the Bay. To that end, Clean Ocean Action and Save Barnegat Bay urge the citizens of Ocean County to take the Barnegat Bay Buddy Challenge.

“The power to improve the quality of Barnegat Bay is in the hands of we the people. While state leadership would make a big difference, the state is trapped by red tape, indecision, and budget cuts. If we wait, it will be too late,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. “Initiating citizen action such as the Bay Buddy program, Save Barnegat Bay’s fertilizer ordinance, the American Littoral Society’s Shore Stewards BayScape program, The Barnegat Bay National Estuary Program’s activities and the LBI Foundation of the Arts and Sciences’ Blue Pages are all essential and will truly make a difference,” Zipf added.

To participate in the program you must first obtain a copy of the artistic yet informative Bay Buddy brochure. You can download the brochure at www.cleanoceanaction.org, www.savebarnegatbay.org, or www.nitrogenfree.com.

“By completing the Bay Buddy checklist, individuals will identify and accomplish small steps to reduce non-point source pollution and implement the most environmentally efficient management practices on their properties and in their daily lives” says William de Camp.

To become a certified “Bay Buddy,” mail your completed brochure to the Clean Ocean Action office (18 Hartshorne Drive, Suite 2, Highlands, NJ 07732). Certified Bay Buddy’s are awarded an attractive yard medallion to highlight your “bay friendly” status.

Barnegat Bay Buddy is a collaborative project by Clean Ocean Action (COA) and Save Barnegat Bay (SBB), and is part of a bay-wide initiative by Save Barnegat Bay called the Nitrogen Pollution Action Project.

Pollution Prevention Coordinator
Clean Ocean Action
18 Hartshorne Drive, Suite 2
Highlands, NJ 07732
phone: (732) 872-0111
fax: (732) 872-8041
http://www.cleanoceanaction.org

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