The millions of fish kills happening along the Jersey Shore are like a canary in a coal mine. These fish are dying because they are unable to survive due to low dissolved oxygen levels in the water. When stormwater and pollution enter our waterways, the level of nutrients increases and oxygen levels drop. The warmer water temperatures we have seen also accelerate algae blooms and bacteria growth that come from nutrient runoff.
Instead of protecting our bays, the Christie administration has promoted overdevelopment, increased nonpoint source pollution, and failed to address climate change.
While our bays are dying, Gov. Christie is rolling back water quality protections. The DEP is overhauling and weakening rules to protect Category 1 waters, eliminating stream buffers, and increasing development in environmentally sensitive areas, which will all increase pollution. Most of the stormwater control systems we have are broken or do not work, but our governor has weakened stormwater rules. This would have required recharging and detention of stormwater as well as buffers to help clean up our waterways. There is even more potential for fish kills to start occurring on the Barnegat Bay beaches because the DEP’s failure to require Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant to install cooling towers has resulted in millions of gallons of thermal pollution in the Bay.