Bidding a formal farewell to a winter that felt more like spring, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) kicked off the Jersey Shore summer season at its 10th annual State of the Shore Media Event today on Sandy Hook. For the last decade, the well-attended event has shined a spotlight on the condition of New Jersey’s beaches heading into Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer on the shore. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin as well as Division of Travel and Tourism Executive Director Grace Hanlon were on hand to give remarks in support of the state’s coastal health and thriving beach tourism industry.
The event featured the State of the Shore Report (PDF), authored and delivered by Dr. Jon Miller, the NJSGC’s Extension Program Coastal Processes Specialist, who assured those assembled Hurricane Irene’s late summer landfall on the Jersey coast had done little to affect New Jersey’s beaches in the long term. “New Jersey’s beaches made it through the winter largely unscathed,” Miller noted in his report, “and in ideal shape heading into the spring and summer.”
The proceedings also included remarks from Dr. Tom Herrington of Stevens Institute of Technology who was instrumental in putting together the first State of the Shore event a decade ago and officials from several other key government agencies, including Michael Augustinyak of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management and Mary Colvin of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who both stressed the importance of readiness in preparing for coastal hazards.
Perhaps the most anticipated bit of news delivered during the event was the announcement of the 5th Annual New Jersey’s Top Ten Beaches Survey, which asked New Jersey residents and visitors to vote for a favorite beach in any of three categories. Taking the top spot for the third year in a row was The Wildwoods (which includes the trio of Wildwood Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood), followed by Ocean City, Long Beach Island, Sea Isle City, Belmar, Cape May, Manasquan, Island Beach State Park, Sandy Hook, and Seaside Heights. Both Hanlon and Dr. Stewart Farrell, Director of the Richard Stockton College Coastal Research Center, whose research helps determine the rankings, presented special certificates and signage to representatives of the winning towns.
The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is an affiliation of colleges, universities and other groups dedicated to advancing knowledge and stewardship of New Jersey’s marine and coastal environment. NJSGC meets its mission through its innovative research, education and outreach programs. For more information about NJSGC visit njseagrant.org.