On Friday, June 8th, thousands of volunteers will join NJDEP staff for the ninth Barnegat Bay Blitz, a watershed-wide cleanup that draws attention to stewardship of the ecologically fragile bay.
The bay’s 660-square-mile watershed spans all or parts of 37 municipalities in Ocean and Monmouth counties. Following a kick-off ceremony at 9:00 a.m. at the Barnegat Municipal Dock, teams will fan out throughout the watershed to clean up wetlands, stream banks, stormwater discharge points, schools, trails, docks, areas around bulkheads, and the waters of the bay itself.
Each team is led by a captain, typically a NJDEP employee. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact one of the team captains for information about clean-up locations in your area, or submit a pledge form to clean up a location of your choice.
The first Barnegat Bay Blitz was held in October 2011. It has grown significantly over the years. To date, more than 31,500 participants have removed 4,579 cubic yards of trash and recyclables from the watershed.
Long, shallow and narrow, the Barnegat Bay is susceptible to the impacts of stormwater runoff and accumulations of trash and debris along its shorelines and in its wetlands. Removal of trash is important to prevent these materials from degrading the bay’s ecological and scenic values. A study by the University of Delaware for the Barnegat Bay Partnership estimates that the watershed and activities related to its natural resources contribute more than $4 billion to the state’s economy each year and directly or indirectly support more than 60,000 jobs.
Blitz sponsors include the Barnegat Bay Partnership, New Jersey Clean Communities, the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, Wawa, Waste Management, TowBoat US, the U.S. Geological Survey, New Jersey Natural Gas, Ocean Spray, Suez-United Water, Ocean County government, PS&S, Firestone, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, ReClam the Bay, Save Barnegat Bay, AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassadors, Boating Education and Rescue, and the U.S. Coast Guard.