Friday, May 16, 2008

Fish kill in Branchport no suprise to long time residents

The Asbury Park Press has been doggedly reporting on the "fish kill" that hit the Branchport area of town this week following a few days of heavy rain.

Our City Emergency Management Coordinator Stanley Dzibua checked it out along with the health department staff and correctly concluded what any city resident for more than six months already knew--when it rains heavily all the crud from our lawns and streets gets washed into the river. Moss bunkers are not hardy fish and any major fluctuation in the river ecosystem will often kill bunkers and assorted bait fish. The same thing happens when we have the algae blooms in the dead of summer.

Unfortunately, the Asbury Park Press predictably missed the opportunity to do a little investigative reporting into some of the root causes of such events. Even a cursory investigation would have provided a treasure trove of topics of wide interest including the nearly twenty year efforts of the Oceanport Water Watch Committee to address the chronic pollution problems caused by the Monmouth Park Racetrack (and Long Branch's apparent abdication of responsibility to join those efforts); the recent adoption of Stormwater Management plans in every communtiy that touches the south branch of the Shrewsbury River and the possible impact of other high impact businesses and institutions along the headwaters of the Shrewsbury including Fort Monmouth, Old Orchard Country Club's Golf Course and Long Branch's own J.F. Kiely Construction Company (run by long time Schneider Administration crony Jack Kiely). The impact of marinas, boat clubs and private docks along the river are also legitimate topics for study and reporting.

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