Thursday, August 12, 2010

Time to Step Up NJDEP

No smiles irony here. The green-minded organization, NY/NJ Baykeeper, has been told to remove the oysters it is trying to cultivate in the waters around New York City/New Jersey. According to their web site:

Today NY/NJ Baykeeper removed oysters from its Keyport Harbor site in order to comply with an order from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). This experimental project was the largest in-water oyster research project in the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary and Baykeeper staff and Rutgers University were just beginning to gather important scientific data to assess the feasibility of large-scale oyster restoration efforts in the area’s waterbodies.

This is wrong on several levels not least of which is that we polluted the waters so badly to begin with. I know it was years ago and it was part of great industrial progress and development, but it stands as a sad reminder of what we're capable of and the reality of it should give us the verve to ensure it never happens again, anywhere. The area used to be full of life including oysters.

Also, does anyone see the irony that a restoration project is halted because of the very pollution it is trying to solve? That's what I call no smiles irony.

What to do about it? The NJDEP needs to wake up and step up. The NJDEP says it can't risk having these experimental, foul oysters reach markets. So step up monitoring and vigilance, NJDEP, and commit to clean waters and healthy ecosystems.

It appears necessary. On June 2, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued a letter to NJDEP citing statewide nonconformance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, specifically citing lack of adequate patrols and vessels, regulating the discharge of human waste from harvest vessels, and a shortfall in water sampling, according to NY/NJ Baykeeper. Out of thirty designated patrol areas, 21 (70 percent) failed to be in compliance during one or more thirty day patrol periods for FY 2009 according to FDA’s Annual Program Evaluation Report.

For more information and to read the complete press release:

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