A meeting between local water supply experts and state officials from the Department of Environmental Protection revealed pessimistic news about improving the Metedeconk River watershed.
Population growth along with housing/business developments anticipated in the area are preliminarily said to cause an obstacle to the project. Wednesday’s meeting, which consisted of local water supply experts and members of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, debated the topic at the Metedeconk Yacht Club in Brick, NJ.
Ocean County freeholder and executive director of the Brick Municipal Utilities Authority, James F. Lacey, declared that officials in Lakewood claim that the town is “having 4,000 births a year,” according to App.com. He was also told by Jackson officials that 50 square miles has already been committed to urban development projects to support their own population increases. The Metedeconk River, which is amongst the largest in the Barnegat Bay region, branches out to five townships including Brick, Jackson, Lakewood, and two other townships in southern Monmouth County.
The functions of a watershed ultimately are designed to improve ecological conditions for plants, animals, and humans. Their functions generally maintain water supply, quality, drainage, etc. as described by the Center for Watershed Protection. Restoring the watershed is set to cost the county $660,000; however, integration of the plan is unlikely because of the rise in population and the community development projects.
“We’re going to try to accomodate all the business interests, all the economic interests, all the political interests of the watershed,” said a less-than-optimistic MUA commissioner, Allan Cartine. “We have to be careful. We are not rewriting land use law.”
The Metedeconk River does have some evidence of ecological irregularity. One such irregularity can be seen during the summertime from the Yacht Club this first meeting was held. Faulty storm drainage is to blame for filling the river with blooms of algae and schools of jellyfish whom leave painful stings if a person is bitten. The first $450,000 of the project’s budget is set to address the pollution issue if the group can develop a solution to working around the population and development obstacles.
Head of Rutgers University investigations on the bay insists now is the time to alleviate any further pollution to the river.
“We already know enough that we should be going into the watershed now to do remediation.”