Archive for September, 2013

Christie Administration Refuses To Appear Before Legislature to Testify on Sandy Recovery

September 30th, 2013 No comments

No Transparency – No Published Plans – No Public Participation

[Update below]

Today, the NJ Senate & Assembly Environment Committees held their third joint hearing on legislative oversight of the Sandy rebuild efforts.

For the second time, the Committee invited Gov. Christie’s “Sandy Rebuild Czar” Mark Furzan and the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner to testify.

It is unclear what Ferzan’s role and responsibilities are, but DCA prepares NJ’s plans for billions of dollars of federally appropriated Sandy rebuild funds overseen by federal HUD.

For the second time they refused.

Amazing arrogance and evasion of accountability by the Gov., regarding an issue upon which he has literally seized and consolidated Executive power, and singlehandedly used to build a national media presence, political ambition and strong favorable NJ poll ratings.

At the first August 15, 2013 hearing in Atlantic City, I recommended that the Committees issue subpoenas to compel testimony from the entire Christie Cabinet, including “Czar” Ferzan, who seems to serve independently and without oversight in an ad hoc and legislatively unauthorized  and un-budgeted Christie Cabinet role.

Despite that, weeks later, both Chairpersons merely complained about the Administration’s failure to appear, failing to even broach the subpoena issue, as if they were powerless to push back.

Chairwoman Spencer went even further, at one point claiming “there’s nothing we can do”.

Oh well. Another successful evasion by the Gov.

The hearing basically was a shorter rehash of the Atlantic City hearing.

Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth)

The “highlight” of the hearing was a bit of a cat fight, as Senator Beck lept from her chair, bypassing the customary protocol “through the chair” – with a question to the witness not prefaced with the obligatory “with all due respect” – and fired up her microphone to challenge Staci Berger of the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ.

Clutching her pearls – doing the female version of Robert DeNiro’s classic line from “Taxi driver” “You talking’ to me? ––  Beck abruptly interrupted Ms. Berger’s testimony and hissed:

Did you just call me disingenuous? (corrected)

Berger had challenged Beck’s prior comments defending the Administration and blaming federal HUD for the problems. Berger correctly noted that the CDBG program provided significant flexibility to states, that the design of the HUD funded programs was done by NJ State officials (in DCA), and that the private contractor implementing the program was procured under a contract with State officials.

Berger went on to say that it was “disingenuous to argue” that HUD was the source of the problem – which prompted Senator Beck’s retort.

Ms. Berger, being a gentlewoman, demurred from the cat fight and let Senator Beck’s challenge lie.

[Update – Correction and apology to Ms. Berger – see:  Did Christie Select Another Corporate Crony For Sandy Recovery?]

I was the next witnessed called and was going to follow up on this testimony and call Beck out for not only her defense of the Administration, but for her role as insider – she is literally acting as the exclusive Legislative Liaison to the entire Christie Administration on virtually all Sandy issues.

But, likely anticipating my rant, Beck got up and left as I was called to testify.

Anyway, I avoided repeating all the prior criticisms I have made before these committees on this issue and instead focused in on a few new and important issues:

I advised Legislators that this could be legislated via either amendments to the enabling legislation for each individual infrastructure planning program  – or comprehensively under the umbrella of a Coastal Commission or a Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

Because the planning and preparation are is NOT happening now and the administration has ignored multiple scientific warnings, the Legislature must act to mandate it.

I again warned that NJ is the only state in the northeast without an adaptation plan, likening  Gov. Christie’ NJ to North Carolina, where Republican climate denying legislators there have prohibited consideration of climate change impacts in coastal planning.

You can listen to the entire hearing here.

[End Note: Amazingly, not one coastal group testified today. Because Tim Dillingham from ALS and Sean Dixon from COA were present, I can only assume that that failure was to avoid criticizing and embarrassing the Gov. – NJ Future and Sustainable NJ were no shows as well.

Normandy Beach, NJ (BEFORE SANDY) Several of these houses are now gone.

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Memo To Pinelands Commission: Don’t Take A Dive For The Short End Money

September 28th, 2013 No comments

Mitigation Deal With Gas Pipeline Would Destroy The Commission and Staff’s Integrity

There’s more to this than I thought Charlie … I’m telling you there’s a lot more. […]

You was my brother Charlie – You should have looked out for me a little bit.

You should have taken care of me just a little bit, so  I wouldn’t have had to take them dives for the short end money. …. It was you, Charlie.    ~~~ Watch the full scene

  • When discretion, politics, and money combine, they tend to produce a corrupt review process, whereby professionals lack a defensible legal and scientific basis to say “NO”, while they are pressured to find a way to approve the project, offset by some kind of “equivalent” mitigation package that the politicians can hold out as “equivalent protection” (expect a money payoff and land donation).  ~~~ Bill Wolfe 8/28/13
  • Lohbauer also mentioned “offsets,” shorthand for contributions to environmental work in the Pinelands, a kind of compensation for the development permit. That would harken back to 2005, when the Pinelands Commission came under fire for allowing Atlantic City Electric to build a new southern Ocean County power line on the west side of the Garden State Parkway to avoid conflicts in suburban neighborhoods. The power company agreed to pay $13 million into a conservation fund that was used to put several thousand acres into preservation.  ~~~ Asbury Park Press 9/28/13

It is amazing to watch the desperate contortions that corporate flacks and their captured spineless regulators will go through after being caught with their pants down.

Yesterday, South Jersey Gas Company (SJG) made a presentation on their proposed pipeline to the Planning and Implementation Committee of the Pinelands Commission.

The presentation was more of a regulatory house of cards than a science based impact assessment.

The questions posed by the Commissioners revealed that they know very, very little about the project or its impacts and risks; that they rely heavily on South Jersey Gas Co. expertise and promises; and that the project would basically be privately self monitored.

But immediately after the SJG presentation and a brief round of softball questions, without providing an opportunity for public comment and without any Committee discussion or a vote,  the Chair of the Pinelands Commission directed staff to begin negotiation of a “Memorandum or Agreement” (MOA) with SJG to authorize construction of a 22 mile $100 million pipeline through the Pinelands National Reserve.

As usual, veteran reporter Kirk Moore of the Asbury Park Press got the story exactly right:  Pinelands Commission considers waiving rule on forest pipelines – Pinelands Commission takes step toward waiving rule

But in a new twist, the company asserts its primary goal is to improve reliability of its network. Critics pounced on that Friday, saying the state Board of Public Utilities, in endorsing the project, wants it for system reliability and the power plant, and would not approve it without both uses.

“A board order is like a permit. They’re not holding a gun to their heads, saying ‘Build this or else’,” said Bill Wolfe of the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. “Now they (company officials) are building this resiliency argument.”

And of course, Marlon Brando tells the story far better than I could imagine, so, maybe instead of reading this post, just read Kirk’s story and watch the video and use your imagination.

The  proposed SJG pipeline violates the forest policies of the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP). Under the CMP and Commission regulations, the only way that the Commission could approve the project is under a MOA.

But, Commission regulations limit a MOA to the projects of “public agencies”

Under normal circumstances, the Pinelands Commission expects that a public agency’s development plans will conform to all of the land use [N.J.A.C. 7:50, Subchapter 5] and development standards [N.J.A.C. 7:50, Subchapter 6] of the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan [CMP]. However, there may be instances where a public agency believes that a specific development plan can not conform to all of the CMP’s requirements.

Although the Pinelands Commission expects these types of situations to be very rare, the CMP [N.J.A.C. 7:50 – 4.52 (c)] does allow the Commission to enter into an intergovernmental agreement that authorizes a public agency to undertake development activities that are not fully consistent with Pinelands land use and development standards.

The obvious fly in the ointment is that the South Jersey Gas Company is NOT a “public agency” and the pipeline is not a public development plan . Instead, the pipeline is a privately owned profit seeking speculative economic investment.

The pipeline originally was conceived, designed, and justified as a dedicated pipeline to re-power the private BL England power plant in Beesley’s Point.

So, SJG needs to conjure up some public benefits and public rationale.

In an attempt to comply with the CMP and MOA regulations, South Jersey Gas Co. desperately is trying to misrepresent this private speculative investment to serve a private power plant as:1) a public project, 2) that provides public benefits (“reliability”); 3) ordered by the BPU and DEP,  4) that benefits the Pinelands.

[all these so called “public benefits” have not been weighed against all the negative impacts on the Pines from: 1) the pipeline construction and operation; 2) the BL England plant it would serve; 3) the air quality and greenhouse gas emissions of the pipeline and the BL England plant; 4) current climate change ecological impacts in Pines forests that would be exacerbated; r 5) the impacts from the secondary growth the pipeline would induce. ALL of these impacts – with  minor exceptions- were virtually ignored by the SJG presentation but must be considered by the Commission.]

To support that lie, they have: 1) cynically renamed the project as the “BL England and Reliability Pipeline”, 2) exaggerated the “reliability” aspects, including the benefits to the Pinelands in terms of number of homes; and 3) essentially misrepresented the BPU and DEP Orders as State mandates or directives to build the pipeline and repower the BL England plant.

In fact, the pipeline and the BL England re-powering are private speculative economic profit seeking ventures done purely at risk. It is unclear how many homes in the NJ Pinelands would be provided “reliability”, but it is far less than the 63,000 the company tried to suggest would benefit.

On the” reliability” issues, there also seems to be a conflict with the BPU testimony.

Previously, BPU told the Commission that the project was justified primarily by the Energy Master Plan and re-powering of the BL England plant. But BPU also noted secondary reliability objectives. BPU stated that the Board approved the project as serving in state energy capacity and that BOTH objectives would be served. BPU said the project was not feasible without the primarily BL England re-powering objective.

In contrast, SJG stated that they would pursue the project as a stand alone reliability project, independent of the BL England plant. So, what began as a dedicated pipeline to BL ENgland has now morphed into a back up reliability project!

And of course SJG would be pleased to buy the Pinelands Commission approval with $10 – $20 million of your ratepayer money, all while earning a 10% profit on that bribe  under BPU 100% cost recovery as a “regulatory requirement”.

This pipeline project is following the corrupt mitigation model set by the SR power line through the Delaware Watergap.

Similarly seeking to mask what’s going on, the Pinelands Commission is desperately try to create the false impression that the project is being evaluated on its merits, independently, in the public interest, based on science, and in a transparent and objective fashion, instead of being dictated from Trenton and south jersey political power brokers.

“There’s been no judgment on the project,” Wittenberg said. “We simply want more information from the staff. [The commissioners] want to see what it would look like.” 9/28/13

To support that lie, the Commission is hoping to avoid inconvenient facts, including the chronology of the project.

First of all, letting the cat out of the bag and signaling that the deal was done, the Commission’s lawyer, Ms. Roth, way back in April 2013 indicated that A MOA would be negotiated. From the Commission’s April 12, 2013 minutes:

Ms. Roth said that she anticipated bringing two draft agreements to the Committee this Spring related to:

  1. An MOA to enable development of a natural gas pipeline through the Forest Area to serve the Atlantic City Electric Company’s B.L. England Generating Station in Cape May County; 

Subsequently,the BPU June 21, 2013 Order approving the pipeline stated that a MOA would be issued by the Commission:

But at the July 27, 2013 meeting Ms. Roth, emphatically stated publicly that the Commission was NOT anticipating a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with BPU at that time. But he BPU’s June 21, 2013 approval already INCLUDED A MOA WITH THE PINELANDS COMMISSION! see @ page 3:

So yesterday, I asked the Commission how the BPU managed to arrive at a MOA and what was their basis for including it in the Order. Obviously, there had to have been coordination and a green light from the Commission or the Executive Director (most likely at the top down direction of the Gov.’s Office, who is coordinating the BPU, DEP and Commission approvals).

And then there’s the little problem that the BPU Order talks about a MOA between the Commission and BPU, while the Commission yesterday authorized MOA negotiation with SJG! Slight conflict, no? Oops!

So, the idea of a MOA was built in long ago, not arrived at during yesterday’s meeting after the SJG presentation as Chairman Lohbauer attempted to portray.

[The Commission has or used to have a 12 step procedure for developing a MOA – it is clear that that procedure has not been followed.]

That SJG presentation and Lohbaur’s response were an orchestrated charade – a sham effort at post hoc rationalization of a done deal.

If, in fact, the Commission were truly interested in an objective, science based, transparent, and independent review of this project – in an effort to protect the integrity of the review process and the ecology of the Pines – they would have agreed to implement 3 prior specific recommendations I made that could have done that:

  • prior to conducting an ad hoc standardless review of the SJG proposal, develop methodology, criteria, standards, and Guidance for the review and “equivalent protection” finding required under the Commission’s MOA rules;
  • procure independent  expertise to supplement staff expertise in critical areas, like engineering, hydro-geolological/geo-technical, and energy planning; and
  • develop scientific and legal linkages between the pipeline’s primary and secondary greenhouse gas emissions and the CMP and ecological impacts on Pines forests

But instead of directing staff to take these common sense steps to close loopholes, protect the integrity of the Commission’s review process, and better protect Pines ecosystems, Chairman Lohbauer directed staff to negotiate a MOA with SJG.

[Note: The BL England re-powering project has a go/no go notification deadline under the DEP Order by the end of December. They need the pipeline approved before then. I asked the Commissioner whether this deadline explains their rush for a MOA instead of doing the right thing, which would take time and delay reviews way past December. My sense is that Commission will issue approval in November, AFTER the Gov.’s election in time for BL England deadline. I warned the Commission members that if this happens, their credibility is destroyed. As I was saying this, Director Wittenberg was shaking her head and vehemently saying “NO, NO, NO”. WEll prove me wrong.]

I must admit my movie analogy that this project was like “Chinatown” may be flawed –

It is now looking a lot more like “On the Waterfront”.

“There’s been no judgment on the project,” Wittenberg said. “We simply want more information from the staff. [The commissioners] want to see what it would look like.” 9/28/13

But,the Commission can prove me wrong by rejecting a MOA deal and killing the project. I hope they do.

The choice is up to them. Just Say NO TO MOA!

[and dear God don’t abuse the “Social Costs of Carbon” as a basis for the mitigation compensation deal. That cruel irony would surely make my head explode to see that used to promote a fossil fuel  infrastructure project. The rep of recommended that a Lohbauer was interested. The suggestion by is  a perfect example of naiveté and lack of understanding of the regulatory game being played here.]

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September 26th, 2013 No comments

Rutgers Climate Change Warnings and Recommendations Ignored by Christie DEP

As a result of Gov. Christie’s political denial of climate change, NJ’s drinking water infrastructure will remain highly vulnerable to climate change impacts

photo from Monmouth County of the affected pipe (source: Star Ledger)

The NJ Water Supply Advisory Council met last Friday.

It remains unclear if the long overdue Water Supply Plan Update will ever be released for public review – former DEP Commissioner Mark Mauriello has called that failure “embarrassing”.

But one thing is clear:

The DEP’s Statewide Water Supply Plan will not include climate change impacts, despite stern warnings from Rutgers University and the NJ Climate Adaptation Alliance.  Rutgers professor Dan Van Abs – formerly head of DEP’s water supply planning team – briefed the WSAC on August 18 and his recommended actions were rejected.

I asked about this Van Abs briefing and specifically put that question directly to the Commission and DEP at Friday’s meeting and was told that no climate impact or adaptation work would be included in the next plan update.

That is shockingly irresponsible – just ask the people in Monmouth County – who sufffered a climate change related water emergency – about that.

It looks like the Christie Administration’s highly touted “asset management” approach to water infrastructure is seriously flawed (see also: DEP Dims The Lights on Clean Water).

This is despite the fact that, according to DEP Commissioner Martin’s testimony, Sandy had devastating impacts on NJ’s drinking water infrastructure, harming drinking water treatment at 400 plants:

But as a result of Gov. Christie’s political denial of climate change, NJ’s drinking water infrastructure will remain highly vulnerable to climate change impacts.

[This is not the first time, but a pattern of failure and denial, see:

“So none of this work is getting done,” said Bill Wolfe, a 30-year-veteran of DEP and now a harsh critic.

“And if you want to get something done, the DEP has all the tools to get something done and they’ve chosen not to use those tools for political reasons, reflecting the Governor’s priorities and Governor’s policy,” Wolfe said. “And they just don’t want to own up to that.”

To Bill Wolfe, director of the environmental group NJ PEER, “the Rutgers work shows how the FEMA maps underestimate risks.” He wants to see the new tool formally incorporated by the two agencies.

“Buildings and infrastructure like roads, water and sewer and storm water have useful lives of more than 50 years,” Wolfe said. “What we build today will see the Rutgers elevations.”

Read the full story, from our friends at the PEER DC Office:

NEW JERSEY UNPREPARED FOR CLIMATE THREATS TO WATER SUPPLIES – Absence of Planning & Regulatory Freeze Stymie Critical Water Management Steps

Posted on Sep 26, 2013  | Tags: New Jersey

Trenton — Experts see climate change having major impacts on New Jersey’s water supplies and infrastructure but the state is not paying attention, according to documents posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Failure to take steps in the short-term allows risks to multiply while forfeiting flexibility needed to effectively avert, mitigate or respond to coming water emergencies.

Rutgers Professor Dan Van Abs outlined effects the state should expect to see from climate change at the August 18th meeting of the state Water Supply Advisory Council, according to its minutes, including:

  • Sea level rise will cause saltwater intrusion into groundwater supplies;
  • Chemical and biological changes in water quality due to higher temperatures, more flooding and invasive species infestations; and
  • More intense storms will create more turbidity, thus increasing treatment costs.

When asked what actions are most needed, the first step he named was that the Statewide Water Supply Plan should be released. But that plan is long overdue and appears to be mired in politics. At a recent joint Senate-Assembly meeting on Hurricane Sandy recovery, former Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Mark Mauriello testified that:

“…we have a State Water Supply Plan that is 17 years old. It’s an embarrassment… [The] Water Supply Management Act requires that this plan be updated every five years. It hasn’t been updated since 1996. When I took over as Commissioner and had the authority to really boss people around, I had our Water Supply Division, in one year, complete a final draft update of that plan, which was being reviewed in December of ’09. Unfortunately I ran out of time due to the circumstances of the election… that plan has languished. And the word from DEP now is that they have ‘parked the plan.’ That’s a quote from the highest levels of the agency. We have to get the plan out of park.”

“Since we last had a water plan, a lot has changed besides the climate – higher demand, greater loss of wetlands, vernal pools and riparian buffers plus our infrastructure has gotten older,” stated New Jersey PEER Director Bill Wolfe, pointing out that the 1996 plan is even further out of date since it was based upon hydrological data from the 1980’s. “Without an up-to-date plan, the state will carom from one water crisis to the next, seesawing from drought to floods.”

The state’s rudderless water posture is aggravated by Christie administration polices, such as a regulatory moratorium which prevents updated water supply regulations and a “Red Tape” review designed to roll back rules related to water resource management. Even though it advises DEP, no DEP staff even attended the last Water Supply Advisory Council meeting and the current DEP Commissioner has never met with the Council.

“New Jersey water planning is adrift due to lack of executive branch leadership,” added Wolfe, noting a 2013 U.S. Government Accountability Office report calling for greater federal-state cooperation in water infrastructure planning. “New Jersey can no longer afford to pretend that climate change is a topic solely for academics without major real world consequences.”


Read the Water Supply Advisory Council minutes (pages 3-4)

See former Commissioner Mauriello’s testimony (page 24)

View requirements of state Water Supply Management Act

Examine GAO report

Look at lack of climate planning in state’s post-Sandy efforts

New Jersey PEER is a state chapter of a national alliance of state and federal agency resource professionals working to ensure environmental ethics and government accountability

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Don’t Be Duped By Dunes Decision

September 26th, 2013 No comments

Gov. Christie Turns Policy Vulnerability into PR Victory – Again

Christie Reckless Rebuild Ignores Climate Change & Sea Level Rise

NJ “Drunk of federal funds” – On A “Hazardous” and “Unsustainable” Path

piles of sand along NJ coast - these are not dunes (Normandy Beach - looking north towards Mantolooking

DEP impediment to managing coastal hazards: “public perception that large-scale beach nourishment projects eliminate vulnerability to coastal hazards”

[Important Update below]

Once again, Gov. Christie has hoodwinked the media and turned a huge policy vulnerability into a huge political and media PR win.

Once again the clueless media have given the Governor a national platform to self promote.

Today, in response to a legal settlement with a coastal homeowner on dune easements, national and NJ media are buzzing about the Gov.’s efforts to protect the coast from storms, allegedly making it more “resilient” (Huffington Post/AP national story):

“It is a proven fact that having dunes along our coastline makes everyone safer, and today I’m acting to move the building process forward,” Christie said. “As we rebuild from Superstorm Sandy, we need to make sure we are stronger, more resilient and prepared for future storms, and dunes are a major component of this process.”

NJ is less prepared for future storms and actually will be worse off when the next one hits as a result of the Gov.’s policy failures and lack of planning.

There are critical facts that expose the Gov.’s self serving spin that are completely ignored, including the recent testimony of former DEP Commissioner Mark Mauriello, a coastal geologist with 30 years experience,  who called Christie’s Sandy recovery plan “drunk on federal money”,  and a “dangerous path” that is costly and economically “unsustainable“.

[Inquiring minds can read the entire Legislative joint environmental Committee special hearing on Sandy recovery here.]

What is going on on NJ shore right now is status quo beach replenishment in drag, supplemented by local efforts to pile  sand and call them dunes.

The USACE is not building dunes – under Sandy bailout, Congress required that the Corps submit a Report to Congress before they appropriate money for further work.

The “dunes” that are being built in NJ by local governments are piles of sand that will wash out with a minor nor ‘easter. (see above and below photos)

Meanwhile, the facts that Gov. Christie recklessly promoted rebuilding in hazardous areas, deregulated rebuilding from DEP environmental review, and that even real dunes are not a panacea go completely unreported.

Gov. Christie continues to deny risks of climate change and sea level rise and has failed to incorporate them in Sandy HUD rebuild plans or the NJ Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Remarkably, in fact, DEP historically had always issued warnings to the public that beach replenishment projects create a false sense of security and invite more development to hazardous areas.

Instead of costly beach engineering, DEP recommended that development had to be directed away from hazardous locations under a policy of “strategic retreat”.

But just like the George Bush White House rewriting EPA Climate Change reports, those DEP warnings have been deleted not just from the media reports, but from official DEP Coastal Hazard Assessment documents that are submitted to NOAA for approval.

Here is what the DEP has historically warned the public about – warnings that have been DELETED by the Christie Administration – THIS IS A SCANDALOUS SUPPRESSION OF SCIENCE

All of the impediments to meeting this 309 programmatic objective that appeared in the last New Jersey Coastal Zone Section 309 Assessment and Strategy remain. These include lobbying efforts of special interest groups, legal challenges to DEP permit decisions, provision of flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, and public perception that large-scale beach nourishment projects eliminate vulnerability to coastal hazards. ~~~ NJ DEP, 2006


Titus demonstrates (link) that in certain instances, structural engineering solutions will not be practical or economically feasible. In these cases future public and private development and redevelopment must be directed

away from the hazardous areas. While some derogatorily refer to this option as “retreat,” from the perspective of sound planning based on the best available science, the concept actually involves “strategic adjustment.” Prudent planning requires that we expand upon the existing studies of the societal, economic, and environmental costs of possible mitigative actions while the greatest number of alternatives exist.The state’s coastal area continues to experience substantial seasonal and residential population increases. Conversion of formerly seasonal homes  to year-round residences continues unabated. In many instances, formerly modest houses are replaced with significantly more expensive homes while property values continue to escalate.

At the same time, risks associated with coastal hazards continue to increase. Factors such as escalating sea level rise and cyclical and possibly long-term increases in storm frequency and intensity threaten both the natural environment and built environment of New Jersey’s coast. Consequently, the ranking of the Coastal Hazards Section 309 enhancement area remains a high priority with the NJCMP.

For deleted findings, see this:

[Update 9/30/13 – Even conservative Star Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine gets it and called BS on the dune diversion:

Don’t worry. The Army Corps of Engineers is replenishing all of the beaches in Monmouth County. One problem: No dunes are included in the plan. Chris Gardner, a spokesman for the New York district of the Army Corps, told me the project must conform to the original design for beach replenishment that was implemented in the late 1990s. That design did not include dunes and this one won’t either, he said.

“We can only do what we’re authorized to do,” said Gardner. If the state wants the Corps to pump enough sand for dunes, then the state will have to chip in, he said. – end update]

These are NOT DUNES

Look closely and see how the base of this pile of sand has already washed out

piles of sand - Toms River, NJ

Toms River NJ - I was told the town is building 3 miles of these sand piles

THIS IS WHT REBUILD MADNESS LOOKS LIKE _ high density development, rebuilt right on the beach, no dunes.


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NJ’s Trout Streams Threatened – Christie DEP Rolling Back Protections

September 25th, 2013 No comments

Governor Breaks Promise to Expand Designations of “Category One” (C1) Waters

Fishermen should remember in November

Ken Lockwood Gorge - one of NJ's finest trout spots

The Hunterdon County Democrat ran an interesting story today on NJ’s native brook trout:  New Jersey Wildlife: Brook trout, the state’s fish

The story highlights the top threats to trout:

the top six stressors to brook trout populations in the state are (in order of significance): increased water temperatures, dam impediments, agriculture runoff, urbanization, one or more exotic fish species interaction (including introduction of other non-native trout species) and degraded riparian habitat.”

The three most significant of these stressors – increasing water temperature, urbanization and degraded riparian habitat – are directly related to poor land use planning, lax regulation, and over-development.

The DEP has effective planning and regulatory tools to protect trout streams and preserve riparian habitat.

The most significant threat to the effective use of these tools to protect trout streams are the policies of Governor Christie and his incompetent DEP Commissioner, Bob Martin.

Let me give just one of many clear examples of why this is true.

One of the DEP’s most powerful regulatory tools is designation as a “Category One” (C1) water,

A C1 designation by DEP provides 300 foot wide protected vegetated buffers on both sides of the stream. Vegetated buffers filter pollutants, provide wildlife habitat, and cooling shade. This helps keep native trout streams flowing cool and clean.

During the 2009 campaign, Gov. Christie promised to expand this DEP C1 program, but, after almost 4 years, his DEP has failed to designate a single C1 stream. Not one.

At the same time that DEP is failing to honor the Gov. commitment, the DEP is weakening other water resource protections and promoting economic development and poor land use that its killing the streams.

Fishermen should remember in November. 

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