Opposition to NJ Transit plan energizes Twilight Lake rally

712 views
The event April 24 raised awareness about the Concerned Citizens of Bay Head group’s efforts to redirect New Jersey Transit’s Bay Head Yard Substation Repair project being built on the edge of Twilight Lake wetlands. (MARK R. SULLIVAN/THE OCEAN STAR)

BAY HEAD — Hundreds of residents lined up around Twilight Lake along Twilight Road and Lake Avenue on Saturday, in a show of support for protecting the centerpiece of the local community, its surrounding wetlands and wildlife.

The “Hands Around Twilight Lake” event was presented by the Concerned Citizens of Bay Head on April 24, a few hours after the borough’s first annual Earth Day celebration. The event’s goal was to raise awareness about the group’s efforts to redirect New Jersey Transit’s Bay Head Yard Substation Repair Project that is being built on the edge of the Twilight Lake wetlands, which, according to local leaders, is directly connected to Barnegat Bay, and classified as a Category 1 waterway.

“We had probably more than 300 people supporting our cause here,” Ellen Nolan, of Concerned Citizens of Bay Head, told The Ocean Star.

ADVERTISEMENT

“People are embracing this cause … and we feel this was some great publicity to get out to people that we want to save this lake and protect the wildlife.

“We are seeing oil slicks down on Scow Ditch and we are seeing the disruption of osprey nests. It is tragic and when you start hearing the pounding of the pilings, I think you just have to say this shouldn’t be here in the wetlands.

“There are many other options where they could build this substation, so why does it have to be here in Bay Head? We are going to continue to make our concerns known to the DEP [state Department of Environmental Protection] and to NJ Transit and to our elected officials to see what they can do to help us get this re-evaluated.”

The “Hands Around Twilight Lake” event came after two virtual public hearings April 22 on New Jersey Transit’s application before the DEP for a dewatering permit for the project.

Bay Head is the ‘Head of Barnegat Bay’ and any polluted water that they discharge off of their site will flush into Barnegat Bay. This is not acceptable. They [must] clean up their site and do a complete environmental review before [any] activity is allowed,” Save Barnegat Bay had written on its Facebook page regarding the hearings.

Speakers at Saturday’s event included Mayor William Curtis; Britta Forsberg, executive director of Save Barnegat Bay; Karen Argenti, board member of Save Barnegat Bay; Janet Tauro, NJ board chair of Clean Water Action; and Edward Nolan, of Concerned Citizens of Bay Head.

“We are continuing to engage our elected officials, and the NJDEP, through letters, emails, and postcards,” Concerned Citizens of Bay Head wrote in a message to The Ocean Star.

“Our most immediate initiative is to protect the wildlife that feed, nest and rest in the wetlands of Twilight Lake, particularly the black-crowned night heron and the osprey that are protected under the Endangered and Non-Game Species Conservation Act of 1973. This issue is of critical importance as currently, there are ospreys nesting on the NJ Transit construction site in the wetlands.”

This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.

Check out our other Bay Head stories, updated daily. And remember to pick up a copy of The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.

Subscribe today! If you're not already an annual subscriber to The Ocean Star, get your subscription today! For just $34 per year, you will receive local mail delivery weekly, with pages and pages of local news and online access to our e-edition on Starnewsgroup.com.