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Rank Propaganda at DEP


Unplug, unwind … and get your kids outdoors!June is Great Outdoors Month, a perfect time to launch kids on a lifetime of appreciation for New Jersey’s many natural wonders, such as this stream in Stokes State Forest in the Skylands region. Special programs introducing families to fishing, camping, natural history and much more will be held at state parks, forests and wildlife management areas through the month. Learn more.


While I am all for getting outdoors with the kids, what DEP fails to tell the public – and in the process misleads the public – is that wading in NJ streams like that depicted in the photo above would result in a high probability of being exposed to unsafe bacteria that could make kids sick.

While streams in Stokes State Forest are clean, most NJ streams are highly polluted.

In fact, according to DEP’s own data, only 19% of NJ streams, lakes, and rivers attained the DEP’s own recreational use standards, which are designed to protect public health. Attainment of those standards is measured by the presence of bacterial indicators of pathogens, like e. coli bacteria (see page 44, DEP Water Quality Assessment Report).

Attainment of the recreational use standards in the inland freshwater streams is actually far less than 19% because of relativley high rates of recreational use attainment in ocean waters.

Photography by a government agency should inform the public and depict truth – unfortunately, the very positive responses elicited by the DEP webpage photo are contradicted by DEP’s own science and data.

DEP should be reporting accurate data on water quality to the public – not withholding that data and presenting highly misleading positive images that contradict a rather negative reality.

That’s called propaganda.

Perhaps if NJ residents knew how polluted our waters are, they might do something about it.

[Update 1: 6/8/10 – is DEP press office reading WolfeNotes? Check this out: COMMISSIONER AIMS TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH AND SHELLFISH INDUSTRY

[Update 2: 6/13/10 – Star Ledger ran a good story:  Environmentalists say shutdown of N.J. oyster beds could have detrimental effects about the shellfish monitoring and enforcemnent problems at DEP – in my view, Commissioner Martin again showed poor judgement (similar to Gulf Spill Reponse Team and Exelon Spill Act Directive press releases) and acted in a way to mask major problems at DEP and creating a miselading appearance that he is agressively protecting public health].

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