Clinging Jellyfish, Smoother Sailing and Kayak Tours

June 7, 2018
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By Jay Cook and Lily Marten |

Clinging Jellyfish Found Again In The Shrewsbury

MONMOUTH BEACH – The pesky and dangerous clinging jellyfish, which have seemingly found a home in the Shrewsbury River, have again been spotted in the local waterway as river enthusiasts are preparing for the summer boating season.

About 40 clinging jellyfish were spotted last week in a small section of the Shrewsbury River in Monmouth Beach dubbed “the hook” by a team of scientists with Montclair State University (MSU), according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

DEP officials say this discovery could signal the start of a jellyfish boom, which means local boaters should take caution.

“This species is being found in shallow bays and vegetation but there could also be thousands more polyps,” said Jeff Tittel, director of NJ Sierra Club. “Recreation, tourism, fishing and other activities could be impacted by our failure to address pollution. With this invasion, our bays and estuaries could end up belonging to jellyfish, not the people.”

About the size of a dime, the clinging jellyfish have been known to pack quite the punch. Stings can cause “severe pain and other localized symptoms,” as well as some cases of hospitalization, according to the DEP. Marked with red, orange or purple across the middle, they have between 60 and 90 trailing tentacles which are sharp and produce painful neurotoxins.

Researchers from the DEP and MSU have been working in recent years to figure out why the clinging jellyfish call a small section of the Shrewsbury River home. In the area around Monmouth Beach, they attach to submerged aquatic vegetation and algae in back bays and estuaries, areas not heavily used for swimming, according to the DEP. Ocean beaches and other sandy areas are typically safe locations.

If stung by a clinging jellyfish, follow these steps provided by the state environmental agency:

• Apply white vinegar to the affected area to immobilize any remaining stinging cells.

• Rinse the area with salt water and remove any remaining tentacle materials using gloves or a thick towel.

• A hot compress or cold pack can then be applied to allevate pain.

If symptoms persist or pain increases instead of subsiding, seek prompt medical attention.

New Schedule Underway For Sea Bright Bridge

SEA BRIGHT – Motorists heading in and out of the borough will get a break this summer when traversing the Sea Bright Bridge, connecting Rumson to the summertime hotspot.

Since May 25 the bridge has been operating a new opening schedule for marine traffic which requires bridge openings along the Shrewsbury River. It will now strictly open on the hour from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays as part of a new trial period. That schedule will remain in effect until Sept. 3. The bridge will open on demand as necessary at all other times.

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Previously, the bridge opened on the hour and again on the half hour from May 15 through Sept. 30.

“The current schedule provides that the bridge open for marine traffic on the hour and half hour which causes significant delays for vehicles traveling on the bridge,” Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said in a statement. “The County has requested an alternative schedule to lessen the impact on the public traveling over the bridge and the surrounding communities.”

The change comes a year after former Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl, former state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos Jr. and Monmouth County officials petitioned the United States Coast Guard for a change in the schedule. Ekdahl told The Two River Times last summer that long traffic delays had congested Rumson’s roadways leading up to the bridge. Ekdahl said Rumson representatives had clocked some bridge delays that lasted as long as 18 minutes at a time.

The U.S. Coast Guard will also be gathering public comment and data over the new time frame to create a definite schedule for the future.

Anyone with questions about the new timeframe should call or email Donna Leoce, Project Officer, First Coast Guard District, at 212-514-4332 or donna.d.leoce@uscg.mil.

Shrewsbury River Dredging Complete As Boating Season Ramps Up

MONMOUTH BEACH – Mariners who frequent the Shrewsbury River should notice a $1 million difference in two boating channels.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) announced last week the completion of three Monmouth County river dredging projects, one of which was in the Shrewsbury River.

Beginning last September, crews from Tri-State Dredging removed about 13,000 cubic yards of sand from new shoals formed after Super Storm Sandy in the Monmouth Beach Channel and Rumson Country Club Y Channels as part of a Phase 1 project. The Monmouth Beach Channel was deepened to 7 feet and the Rumson Country Club Channel to 6 feet.

Work remains in the Oceanport Creek Channel.

The DOT earmarked the Shrewsbury River because of its connection with the United States Army Corps of Engineers Long Branch Reach Channel, which is the only way out to the Sandy Hook Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean.

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Similar projects were completed as well. The DOT spent $375,000 on a dredging project in the Waackaack Creek in Keansburg where 4,700 cubic yards of sandy material were moved. The state also recently finished an immense two-phase project in the Shark River. About 70,000 cubic yards of material were pumped out to restore the river as part of the $7.6 million project.

NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Summer On-The-Water Events

NY/NJ Baykeeper, based in Matawan, has announced its summer 2018 schedule for on-the-water events. The public is invited to come along for kayak, eco-cruises and river tours on the local water ways.

Free 30-minute kayak tours will be offered in Keyport every Wednesday throughout the season. Kayaks, personal flotation devices and paddles will be provided. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. No registration is required. Meet at the beach at the intersection of First and Broad streets at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on July 11, July 18, July 25, Aug. 1 and Aug. 8.

Narrated eco-tours will be offered by Baykeeper. On Sunday, July 15, there will be a Lighthouse Eco-Cruise out of Atlantic Highlands from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Riders will get the opportunity to see Sandy Hook, Romer Shoal and the West Bank Lighthouse, weather permitting. The boat leaves from the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina. Light refreshments will be served; cash bar available on board. Tickets are $45.

River kayak tours will be offered by Baykeeper in partnership with the Monmouth County Parks System. They are for ages 12 and up, under 18 with adult. Single and tandem kayaks are available and the tour is recommended for beginner paddlers or those who want to know more about the local environment. Register at the parks website.

• July 22 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Hartshorne Woods Park, Claypit Creek Parking Lot, 239 Locust Ave. Tickets $30.

• Aug. 4 from 3 to 5 p.m., at West Front Street at the Swimming River Park Boat Ramp. Tickets $30.

The season concludes with a Matawan Creek kayak tour, Sept. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Brown’s Point Marina, 357 W. Front St., Keyport. Tickets are $25 if you have your own kayak. Single kayak rental with PFD and paddles is $30; $60 for a tandem kayak rental.


This article was first published in the June 7-14, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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