I am a resident of Toms River and former boating enthusiast. I have fond memories of recreational boating on the Barnegat Bay for many years. Summer weekends at the shore with my grandchildren had been known as “Grandpa’s Camp” and we enjoyed boating activities on the Bay like swimming, tubing and waterskiing.
Sadly, those outings became less frequent as Barnegat Bay deteriorated in health. My grandchildren could no longer enjoy the Bay because of stinging sea nettles and algal blooms. It was disheartening to of us that our use of the Bay was no longer a pleasant and memorable experience. It led me to realize that Barnegat Bay was dying and something needed to be done to help restore the bay so that we could all enjoy this magnificent resource again.
As a representative of my homeowner’s association, Laurel Commons Condominium Association, I initiated a partnership with the American Littoral Society several years ago to make our community more “Bay Friendly”.
My community has since participated in a storm water basin study, created sample native plant gardens that don’t require fertilizers and pesticides that harm the Bay and soon we will have an existing lawn area in our community retrofitted into a bio-retention basin to reduce pollution loads in the Long Swamp Creek that drains to the Bay.
Governor Christie has initiated a 10-Point Plan to protect and restore the Bay but much more can and needs to be done. All levels of government, individual homeowners, housing communities and municipalities can all play an important role in restoring the Bay back to health.
On July 31, at 7 p.m. in the Mancini Room of the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library, The American Littoral Society and Pinelands Preservation Alliance will host a public forum and listening session to hear about your personal concerns and give you the tools you need to empower you to help protect and restore Barnegat Bay.
I hope you’ll join me in supporting these groups and attend this important event. Let your voice be heard. Because if we don’t speak up to save the Bay, who will?