The state of the shore is strong

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By Kenny Walter
Staff Writer

ASBURY PARK- Officials are expected big crowds, clean water and wide beaches as summer approaches.

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Bob Martin, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), said during a May 26 press conference that the Jersey Shore is ready for the 2016 beach season.

“The state of the shore is outstanding, the water quality is excellent, virtually all our beaches are open and in very good shape,” Martin said. “We are ready to start our 2016 beach season.”

The NJ Sea Grant Consortium served as the host to the press conference that was held at McLoone’s Asbury Grille & Supper Club and coincided with the release of the 14th annual State of the Shore report.

Martin said one of the enhancements for the 2016 beach season is a new web-based system that will allow users to search beach access points and list certain amenities, including parking, restrooms, food, surfing, lifeguards and fishing.

“We are launching a web-based interactive public access map that covers all of the ocean and back bay beaches in Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties,” Martin said.

The information is available through http://www.nj.gov/dep/cmp/access/.

According to Martin, ensuring healthy beaches is crucial to the state.

“It is such an important part of our culture, our quality of life and our identity as a state,” he said. “About half of New Jersey’s $42 billion tourist economy comes from the Jersey Shore.”

Martin said the state does stringent monitoring of water quality.

“Our beaches are, by in large, in very good conditions,” he said. “To safeguard the beach water quality all season, DEP administers the cooperative coastal monitoring program.

“This program has two key components, water quality monitoring and surveillance. The results are clear, the water quality here is excellent.”

While the majority of beaches have already benefited from a federally funded beach replenishment project following superstorm Sandy, Martin said there are still four projects still not completed, including from Deal to Elberon.

Jon Miller, the coastal processes specialist for the consortium, said the outlook for this upcoming hurricane season is average, with 12 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes expected.

“They are calling for an average hurricane season, pretty much on par with the average,” Miller said.

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