By DON STINE
A new, non-profit organization has been formed to help restore Deal Lake through conservation, advocacy, science, and education.
The Deal Lake Watershed Alliance is a partnership with Clean Ocean Action, Rutgers and Monmouth Universities, and the Deal Lake Commission. The group will collaborate on ways to engage citizens, communities, and municipal leaders to take action to reduce runoff around the lake, which is the main cause of shoreline erosion, sediment buildup and toxins that pollute the lake.
“As New Jersey’s largest coastal lake, Deal Lake benefits the residents of coastal Monmouth County in many ways. Easily accessible for recreation, the lake not only diversifies our local ecology, but increases local property values. It is imperative that we as a community address the damaging effects of stormwater runoff and the steady declination of this treasured asset,” DLWA founder Laura McBride said.
For more information on the new organization, go to www.dlwanj.org . A minimum $5 donation is required for membership.
“This is an energetic group that want help with the lake and work together. It is people that will make change and energize people to restore the lake,” Deal Lake Commission Chairman Brockel said.
He said the main focus of the new organization will be looking at the lake’s watershed areas .
“Many of the issues with the lake are upstream and we need to deal with these first, without a doubt,” he said.
“I am very excited about this organization and think it will be great for the lake. There is no quick fix here but we believe towns can assist us in making certain things happen. (The DLC) can go for grants and do governmental stuff but a non-profit for fundraising and energizing people is a great idea. It is essential,” he said.
“The goal is to help the Deal Lake Commission by accomplishing things that we are not able to do on our own. Sometimes our hands are politically tied- we can’t fund-raise and there is only so much we can do to rally the community. This is a huge undertaking for any organization,” Brockel said.
McBride she said that networking with area universities and other organization “can also help increase our science smarts and give us good advice.”
“We want to go to them not only get their expertise, but also young interns and students who are studying and doing terrific things on the municipal levels. We are going to tap into that, absolutely,” she said.
She said she hopes the DLWA can apply pressure on area politicians and initiate policy change.
“Upstream runoff is most important and seems to be getting skipped. This is going to be a very focused advocacy group. We are going to push for change,” she said.
McBride said there has been an enormous amount of support for the DLWA and that donations and memberships are coming in.
“It is increasing every day and I hope to have several hundred members by the fundraiser,” she said.
The DLWA is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 22. There will be a golf outing at the William F. Larkin golf course in Wanamassa, followed by an evening dinner at The Renaissance, off Route 35. Tickets for the golf outing and dinner are $150 and $75 for just the dinner.
Go to the DLWA web site for more information.
“After a fun day of golf, there will be a dinner at the Renaissance in Ocean with great music, delicious food and a gift auction of fantastic items,” McBride said.