Story and photos by Joseph Sapia
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – An effort to improve water quality has earned the borough a “Blue Star” certification from a joint program run by Clean Ocean Action and Sustainable Jersey.
“It’s a very prestigious award,” said Borough Administrator Adam Hubeny. “In a practical way, it adds another feather in the cap of the (municipal) harbor and community.”
Atlantic Highlands was recognized for its program to recycle boat shrink-wrap, create fish-cleaning stations at the harbor, limit boat and motor vehicle idling, collect unwanted prescription drugs for proper disposal and the promote open space at the harbor, Hubeny said.
The borough was presented with the honor at a ceremony on Wednesday, July 27 at Borough Hall.
“The award is in recognition of a town taking significant and meaningful actions to improve and protect water quality,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of the Clean Ocean Action environmental group, based at Sandy Hook.
Zipf said the award also combines the initiative of Sustainable Jersey, a nonprofit organization based at The College of New Jersey that promotes municipalities working on their own to improve the local environment.
“As mayor of Atlantic Highlands, I am proud to receive this Blue Star Award,” said Rhonda C. Le Grice. “Atlantic Highlands will continue to work with Sustainable Jersey and Clean Ocean Action to educate us and the next generation to be good stewards of this most valuable resource. The health of these waters should be a priority for every coastal New Jersey town from Bergen County to Cape May County.”
Le Grice praised the work of James Krauss, chairman of the Environmental Commission, and other volunteers whose work led to the award.
Sustainable Jersey and Blue Star programs not only encourage better environment, but they improve and protect the economy, reduce costs, showcase communities and increase local pride and participation, according to Clean Ocean Action.
In 2010, Atlantic Highlands received a Sustainable Jersey Bronze award, Hubeny said. The borough was re-certified in 2015. Now, the Borough has won the combined Sustainable Jersey-Clean Ocean Action Blue Star certification.
Practically speaking, the certification is recognition of the town’s efforts, Hubeny said. “People have worked hard to put all these programs into play,” Hubeny said. “You see the result: our water is clean, our harbor is clean.”
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