Barnegat Bay Festival May 17, 1997

by Tom Fote

(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association - May 1997 Newspaper)

I asked Pete Mclain if we could republish his article that appeared in Asbury Park on the BB Festival. Since May 17 happens to be my 50th birthday, my wife’s birthday and our wedding anniversary all the same day I figured this would be great way to celebrate the day. Come and join us and you do not have to bring a gift.

Barnegat Bay Festival is a Chance to Learn About the Bay

By Pete McLain

To some Citizens of New Jersey, Barnegat Bay is a foreign phace while other people have heard of it, some have seen it while crossing a bridge, still others have spent a little time visiting it, and there are those who love Barnegat Bay and consider it a natural resource jewel. They have tasted the salt, smelled the clean air, enjoyed the wildlife, and feasted in its fins and shellfish. To know Barnegat Bay is to love it.

The forthcoming "Spring Barnegat Bay Festival", scheduled for Saturday, May 17th, is a major public outreach program sponsored by the Barnegat Bay Estuary Program through the Citizen’s Advisory Committee, the Department of Environmental Protection, Cook College of Continuing education, and several conservation organizations. The purpose of this first Barnegat Bay Festival is in the spirit of "Giving Back to The Bay" through a public outreach program to expose the public to the watershed concept and the importance of protecting Barnegat Bay. From Tuckerton to Whiting to Point Pleasant Beach, a total of 24 events will be conducted including ecotours by bus, boats, and canoes; field trips, slide shows, fishing demonstrations, bicycle yours, historical lectures, birding hikes, marsh tours, seining of the bay, and other activities related to Barnegat Bay and its watershed.

This Festival is open to the public who can pre-register at a cost of $10, which covers the cost of a continental breakfast and a box lunch. There are over 52 volunteer leaders of the 24 events, which expect to host over 1,000 guests. The tours and events will each take about 2 1/2 hours. The day ends with a free Festival to be held in Harvey Cedars on Saturday afternoon from 2 to 7 PM.

The 24 programs encompass the entire watershed which feeds Barnegat Bay and covers most of Ocean County. There are ecotours of the woodlands, marshes, streams, rivers and along the roads.

Barnegat Bay does not exist as a single ecosystem, but is the terminus of the several watersheds which directly affect the health and welfare of the Bay. It’s the intent of the Festival to focus on the watershed, and for the public to understand the importance of protecting Barnegat Bay by thinking and acting on how the several watersheds are managed, or not managed, to insure the life of the bay.

Those who participate in the Festival will hear about "Non Point Pollution", a major problem in maintaining the health of Barnegat Bay. They will learn that they can personally help control this type of pollution by preventing oils and grease, lawn fertilizers, plant pesticides, household discharge, chemicals and paints, discharged from boat toilets, and other contaminants from entering the watersheds which empty into Barnegat Bay.

If you are interested in attending the Spring Barnegat Bay Festival, write or phone the Office of Continuing Professional Education, Cook College, P.O. Box 231, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903-0231. Phone 732-932-9271 or fax 732-932-8726 and ask for a Registration Form. You will be able to apply for some of the 24 programs at eight regional locations, which are shown in the brochure you will receive.

I have spent the better part of a lifetime working, studying and playing on Barnegat Bay. After reading about the ecotours which are available, I realize I have missed some areas in the watershed which I should have visited. There is much to be learned about Barnegat Bay and the watersheds which support it. I can’t think of a better way to increase your knowledge and understanding of what makes this body of water something to be proud of in New Jersey.

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