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The Jersey City Marina: An Environmental Overview

New Jersey, which is financially one of the richest regions in the United States, also boasts the highest population density. The New Jersey district is located on the banks of the lower Hudson River, and has therefore traditionally found itself under enormous pressure owing to an ever increasing demand for property along the 127 mile Jersey shoreline. It is in fact believed that over 50 percent of residents and visitors in New Jersey are located within 50 miles of the coast.

This growing demand for waterside property is known to stem primarily from pleasure boat skippers who desire nothing more than to be out on the water. In 2005 it was predicted that New Jersey in general, was home to over 540 boatyards, marinas and yacht clubs, which housed thousands of various sail and motor pleasure vessels. This number would now be much higher due to the increasing number of marina developments, such as the currently proposed 30-acre, 350 slip marina project in downtown New Jersey.

The Jersey City marina caters mostly to leisure skippers and their watercraft have always been a popular option for pleasure craft owners. The effects of such developments however, take a toll on the aquatic environment in many areas when not properly managed. For this reason the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) decided, in 2005, to implement the ‘Clean Marina Program’ in order to combat the increasing environmental issues relating to marinas.

The ‘Clean’ Jersey City Marina

The clean Jersey City marina program, which basically involves a partnership between the DEP, New Jersey marinas and recreational boaters, concentrates on the preservation of water quality in the New Jersey area. The DEP provides marina management with advice regarding environmentally safe practices and consequently also affords state certification for ‘Clean’ Marina facilities’, or those that maintain a passable water quality in their surroundings. This furthermore allows marinas to market themselves as environmentally friendly establishments.

Since the implication of this program in 2005 however, numerous issues regarding this undertaking have arisen. Various marinas have argued that the policies and practices put into action by the DEP are causing them to struggle, whilst marina management in many areas are having problems controlling the water quality around their establishments. This is said to be owing to the fact, that municipal storm sewers are able to release untreated waste water into the same regions utilized by the marinas. This consequently removes water quality control from the hands of marina management and puts them in a next to impossible position.

Another issue raised by marinas in the New Jersey area is the fact that there has not been enough funding provided to them to offset the financial burden of operating a ‘green’ facility. Many marinas are therefore said to be operating at a loss due to the pressures from increased residential development and environmental groups, coupled with mixed messages regarding environmental protection from the state government.

It can easily be noted that the Jersey City marina is an asset to the region, with boat trip-related spending bringing approximately 1.1 billion dollars annually, to the New Jersey economy. Without Marinas and other pleasure craft establishments, it could therefore be concluded that this substantial boost to the states’ financial system would be absent. This could potentially result in unemployment and other such detrimental proceedings in the region.