The City of Asbury Park became the sixth New Jersey municipality to be recognized as a Champion of the Coast by the American Littoral Society. The recognition follows Asbury Park’s September 26 adoption of an ordinance banning intentional balloon releases, marking the third action in a series required by the Society to achieve Champion of the Coast status.
The Littoral Society, a coastal conservation nonprofit organization, developed the Champions of the Coast initiative early this year and is seeing rapid growth in participation from communities seeking to ensure a clean and healthy ocean and coastline into the future.
“As a shore community we have a significant responsibility to provide leadership that will protect our coastal economy and a healthy ocean,” said Asbury Park Mayor John Moor. “These collective Champion of the Coast actions help us fulfill that responsibility.”
“The impact of protecting our ocean and coast is greater when done alongside other coastal communities, creating support for a more regional effort, and we are honored by this recognition from the Society,” Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn added.
“For over a year, we have been reaching out to coastal communities, engaging our New Jersey leaders about coastal conservation actions, and encouraging them to raise their voices on pressing issues of regional importance,” said Helen Henderson, Ocean Program Manager for the Society. “This initiative shows that real people, towns, and communities have the power to leave a positive, lasting legacy on the health of our coast and ocean. We are recognizing their leadership and contributions.”
The growing list of Champions of the Coast includes: Asbury Park, Bradley Beach, Berkeley Township, Lavallette, Long Beach Township, and Point Pleasant Beach.
The Society promotes the conservation of marine life and habitat, protects the coast from harm, and empowers others to do the same. The organization emphasizes that local leadership is imperative to maintaining the health of the environment and economy.
“Coastal conservation is paramount to our community, fishing industry and tourism in Point Pleasant Beach and working with the American Littoral Society has helped us enact real changes that will positively effect generations to come” said Councilman Paul Kanitra. “We’re incredibly proud of our new Champion of the Coast status and grateful for the expert guidance from our friends at the American Littoral Society.”
“We support regional ocean planning and oppose oil and gas drilling because by the very nature of our town’s name our beach is critical to our identity, our local economy and the enjoyment of our residents and visitors,” said Bradley Beach Mayor Gary Engelstad.
Among other coastal initiatives, Bradley Beach has worked for years to manage and maintain a protective dune system, while also setting aside space for re-establishment of a maritime forest.
“We have also taken proactive measures against plastic bags, against the release of balloons and our volunteers number in the hundreds every year for our Beach Sweeps,” said John Weber, Bradley Beach Council Member. “We support regional ocean planning because we need to accommodate many different uses in the ocean these days. But one use we don’t want to see is offshore oil and gas exploration, so we have passed a resolution against it.”
Click for more information about Champions of the Coast and the American Littoral Society or contact Helen Henderson, Ocean Program Manager at 732-546-2514 firstname.lastname@example.org.
*cover photo credit: Beth Servidio @bsphotos2