Monday, September 8, 2008

Blue Water Task Force - Bringing Together Rival High Schools

Students from two rival New Jersey high schools are teaming up to test local waters through Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force program. The environmental clubs of both Wall Township High School and Manasquan High School are testing the waters in and around Wreck Pond. Both towns are in the Wreck Pond watershed in coastal Monmouth County, NJ. Jersey Shore Chapter activist and science teacher at Wall, Joe Mairo, put the program together and Tom Glenn of Manasquan brought on his students.

The beaches near Wreck Pond are closed more frequently than any other beaches in NJ. The shallow, algae-filled pond is over populated with waterfowl and if it rains just 1/10th of an inch, the beach is closed preemptively. The pond once flowed freely to the ocean and was occasionally flushed by high tides and storms. But it was closed off to the ocean decades ago with only a man-made flume draining it. It just goes to show what can happen when you interrupt natural processes.

“We chose Wreck Pond because its notoriously bad water quality has affected beaches in the area for years,” said Mairo. The state has done a lot of work on extending the pond’s flume, but there is an indication that the pollution problems still exists.”

Other students helping with this project are Manasquan High School seniors Lee Kresge, Phil Lewis, and Veronica Impellizeri, and Wall High School Student Jessica Krug.

The Chapter received a grant from the Linus A. Gilbert Foundation with the help of Wachovia Bank Charitable Services to cover the cost of the testing. At the end of the school year, both sets of students will report their findings to the local chapter. The chapter may in turn make those findings known to the local environmental commissions or town councils. That data may help decide if the $5million the state spent on extending the flume was worth it.

Originally posted by John Weber in Making Waves, vol 23/no. 3

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