Rally for Barnegat Bay

Rally for Barnegat Bay project is a multi-town partnership between Toms River, South Toms River, Ocean Gate, Pine Beach, Island Heights, and Beachwood that looks to protect the local communities of Ocean County by tracking down unknown causes of pathogen pollution in the Toms River and Barnegat Bay.

Locations of the 11 testing sites for Rally for Barnegat Bay’s water quality and pathogen pollution testing program.

It is important to address these pathogens (many of which come from human waste) because they threaten the health and safety of families that live by and enjoy the water in addition to the important wildlife that call it home.

These pathogens are also responsible for large-scale beach and waterfront closings which threaten the livelihoods of both current and future generations of small business owners who depend on the summer tourism centered around beaches.

Correcting the Pollution Problem

Clean Ocean Action (COA), Save Barnegat Bay (SBB), and Ocean County’s Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES)  have worked together to design Rally for Barnegat Bay as a three-phase, three-year long approach to not place blame, but rather find and fix these sources of pollution and the problems they cause.

The first of these phases will be accomplished by pin-pointing hotspots of pollution and creating a network of community involvement and sampling strategies. Once this groundwork has been laid, the second phase will focus on finding these various and potentially hidden sources of pollution by having trained volunteers collect water samples to then be tested at SBB’s EcoCenter.

An exciting highlight of this phase is the use of pollution-sniffing dogs that are trained to identify bacteria in water samples and trace it to its point of origin.

Finally, once these sources of pollution are identified, towns can apply for funding from the state to fix various causes of the problem. Continued testing will be conducted regularly to ensure that the water quality is safe for recreation, hunting, and fishing for future generations.

The Toms River has remained a significant cultural, historical, and natural resource. The Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) is teaming up with Clean Ocean Action, the NJDEP, and Save Barnegat Bay (SBB) for this three-year study on the water quality of the Toms River. The researchers at MATES have made it a goal to collect personal accounts of the importance of the River to the community.

How do I get involved?

Community members can get involved by staying in touch with SBB as we train community scientists to collect water samples and educate the public about the importance of this project and prioritizing our waterway’s health.