Save Barnegat Bay was founded by Charles Hedlund in 1971 as the Ocean County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America in response to a proposed development in what are today Traders Cove and F-Cove in Brick Township. In 1985 the organization became reinvigorated, expanded its scope to the whole watershed, and adopted the name Save Barnegat Bay. From the 1980’s until well into the first decade of the twenty-first century, the group’s primary focus was on resisting imprudent development and promoting conservation of open space in its natural state. In recent years, as the watershed has become largely built out, Save Barnegat Bay has been responding to the vast number of factors that threaten the health of Barnegat Bay and its ecosystem.
Over the years, Save Barnegat Bay was the group thinking innovatively to protect the Bay. Examples of particular projects include: expanding the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge from Long Beach to Brick Township, creating the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust, creating New Jersey’s first Marine Conservation Zone, creating the Barnegat Bay Study, known today as the Barnegat Bay Partnership, and creating New Jersey’s strongest in the nation lawn fertilizer law, which has become the model for the Mid-Atlantic states.