Clean Ocean Action

Rally for the Navesink

What is Rally for the Navesink?

Rally for the Navesink is a coalition of groups dedicated to improving and maintaining water quality in the Navesink River watershed through research, education and policy. The coalition was formed in 2016 in response to a downgrade of over 500 acres of of shellfishing area due to pollution. Pollution sources include urban and agricultural stormwater runoff and failing infrastructure. 

Clean Ocean Action released an in-depth report on these issues in June of 2016, and as part of Rally for the Navesink, has been organizing public meetings, source tracking efforts, and pursuing regulatory and policy tools as well as education and outreach in the watershed. 

Rally for the Navesink is an alliance of groups coordinated by Clean Ocean Action including: American Littoral Society, Bayshore Regional Watershed Council, Clean Ocean Action, Fair Haven Sailing Club/River Rats, Hartshorne Woods Association, Monmouth Conservation Foundation, Navesink Maritime Heritage Association Navesink River Rowing, Navesink Shrewsbury River Fishing Club, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Oceanport Waterwatch, Pirates Care, Recreational Fishing Club - NJ Chapter, Riverview Medical Center, Shrewsbury Yacht Club, Sierra Club - Shore Group

If you would like to become involved please contact outreach@(Spam protected email address)

Or, check out the Rally For the Navesink Facebook page for important updates and events.




Volunteers NEEDED for the Navesink River “Citizen Water Monitoring Program”


Rally for the Navesink seeks to reduce pollution to the river and to instill communitywide “watershed mindfulness.”  It is a no-blame game, find it fix it, grassroots approach that helps track down sources of pollution and fosters collaboration with the many varied and talented groups in the 95 square mile watershed.  Importantly, the Rally partners with state and local elected officials and agencies. 


The next phase of pollution track down is underway. Clean Ocean Action, in partnership with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the Navesink River Municipalities Committee, seeks citizen volunteers to partake in a citizen science water quality sampling program in the Navesink River watershed.  Sampling will focus on the microbial source tracking under ambient conditions.


This is part of the “Find It and Fix It” approach of the Rally for the Navesink:

        Seventeen locations have been identified (four or five per town) in Tinton Falls, Red Bank, Middletown, and Fair Haven (see below).

        Required time is Wednesday mornings between 8am and 10am

        The sampling technique is basic and straight-forward, but training is required.

        The entire sampling process including pick up and drop off is estimated to take an hour.

        Volunteers will pick up and drop off sample bottles from designated locations within the watershed.

        The duration of this entire testing program is 52 weeks however; the frequency of each volunteer’s involvement will depend upon many factors, such as number of volunteers.


All volunteers must attend at least one training session, which is conducted by the NJDEP staff.  Volunteers will learn the protocol required for sampling.  Trainings are mandatory for all volunteers.


Become a citizen scientist for the Navesink River. This citizen science water quality sampling program is an important and  great way to be part of the pollution solution for Navesink River. 

For more information please visit the Rally for the Navesink Google Drive- Citizen Science Folder.


Check out what we've accomplished this past year in our Year in Review

MARCH 2017 at Sickles School, Fair Haven, NJ

On March 8th, Rally for the Navesink held a meeting to encourage attendees to pump-up the oysters and pump-out the boats. Presentations on the importance and impact of bringing oysters back to the Navesink were led by New York/ New Jersey Baykeeper Executive Director Debbie Mans, and Restoration Director Meredith Comi who discussed oysters, and the Navesink River, including the decline of oysters in the Estuary, as well as their hopeful return. American Littoral Society and NY/ NJ Baykeeper presented on their current oyster restoration projects. Boaters will soon be back on the water and use of pump-out boats are essential for water quality protection. Where are pump-outs located and what is the Royal Flush? Christopher Merkel, public health coordinator and officer at Monmouth County Health Department addressed these questions and more in his presentation. The rally wants all boaters in the watershed prepared for the upcoming boating season, and aware of the damage boat waste can do to the river. If you are interested in viewing the meeting, please visit the Rally for the Navesink Facebook Page. Here we streamed the meeting live, and the video is available now to view. Clean Ocean Action released their First 5 actions for Schools, Towns, Citizens, and Businesses. These are five actions that everyone can participate in to help keep the river alive. They are available on the Rally for the Navesink Google Drive along with other helpful tools. Meeting minutes are available here.

FEBRUARY 2017 at Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch

On February 1st the Rally for the Navesink held a 2017 Organizing Meeting  to discuss the past, present, and future efforts to reduce pollution into the Navesink River and beyond. The Rally for the Navesink Alliance reviewed the 2016 actions, what has been achieved and what still remains to be done. They also discussed what steps can be taken and what groups plan on doing in the watershed in 2017. To review the Rally for the Navesink groups actions for 2016-2017 please see the Chart of Actions, as groups add to this document it will be updated. For meeting minutes please click here.

NOVEMBER 2016 at Monmouth Boat Club, Red Bank, NJ

On November 30 Clean Ocean Action launched its Watershed Mindfulness Education initiative. Representatives from school communities in the Navesink watershed attended the meeting to learn more about the initiative from Amanda Wheeler, COA's Volunteer and Education Coordinator, and hear about Next Generation Science Standards from Tanya Oznowich with NJDEP. For the second half of the meeting Zach Lees, COA's Ocean Policy Attorney, discussed the recent Environmental Canine Services report and Bob Schuster reviewed NJDEP's next steps for track down.

OCTOBER 2016 at Knollwood School, Fair Haven, NJ

On October 20 Monmouth Conservation Foundation hosted a public meeting on behalf of Rally for the Navesink focusing on "River-Friendly Living" and steps that individuals living in the watershed can take to improve water quality in the River.

Presenters Included: 
Karen Waltzer, Public Outreach Coordinator from 
Barnegat Bay Partnership
Click here for Native Plants Presentation

 Becky Laboy, Education and Outreach Specialist from 
Ocean County Soil District
Click here for 
Jersey Friendly Yard Pilot Projects Presentation

Zach Royle, Wreck Pond Habitat Restoration Coordinator from American Littoral Society
Click here for Living Shorelines Presentation

Steve Turoto, Director of Science from 
Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association
Click here for River-Friendly Living Certification Program Presentation


Dr. Christopher C. Obropta, Extension Specialist from
Rutgers Cooperative Extension
Click here for Green Infrastructure: How We Can Protect Our Communities & Our Waters

After the presentations, attendees networked with resources available including: Apple Seed Permaculture, Terra Tech Environmental, Master Gardeners of MonmouthThe Little Plant CompanyToadshade Wildflower Farm, Real Organic Farms

SEPTEMBER 2016 at Riverview Medical Center
 Red Bank, NJ

Clean Ocean Action brought in the hounds to help improve water quality in the Navesink River throughout the week of September 19th. COA partnered with Environmental Canine Services (ECS), a company based in Maine that uses scent-trained canines to detect failing sewer and septic infrastructure. The canines and their trainers, Karen and Scott Reynolds, worked with COA to analyze past tracking and water monitoring studies to determine "hot spot" locations and to develop a strategy for following the scent of failing infrastructure "upstream" into the municipalities that surround the River. 
To read more of this story click here.

AUGUST 2016, First Presbyterian Church of Rumson

Dr. Bologna of Montclair State University updated the public on the status of Clining Jellyfish, an invasive species with a powerful sting, found for the first time in New Jersey in the Shrewsbury River.

Bob Schuster, Chief of the NJDEP Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring discussed the results of recent water quality testing during wet and dry weather.

Zach Lees released the results of the "ship and sniff" testing, utilizing partnership with Environmental Canine Services and their scent-trained canines. 

Dr. Nicole Fahrenfeld of Rutgers University of Civil and Environmental Engineering explained results of DNA analysis on bacteria found in the Navesink.

Debbie Mans, Executive Director of NY/NJ Baykeeper, reported that the Royal Flush Pump Out Boat, which operates on Fridays and Saturdays until October 1, has successfully collected 6,500 gallons of waste and chemicals from boats in the watershed.

To read more from August click here.

JUNE 2016, Bingham Hall, Rumson, NJ

Zach Lees, Coastal & Ocean Policy Attorney for COA presented nearly a year of research in a report entitled "Pathogen Pollution in the Navesink River" Addressing Fecal Contamination in the Navesink Watershed. Click to read the full report.

Bob Schuster, Interim Bureau Chief at the NJDEP Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring, presented the NJDEP's 2105 Annual Report on the Navesink River and discussed the NJDEP's source-tracking plan for the River. 

Karen Reynolds, owner of Environmental Canine Services in Maine, presented on scent-trained canines with the ability to detect and track human waste in lakes, rivers, stormwater systems, streams and and oceans.

Dr. Christopher C. Obrupta, Extension Specialist from Rutgers Cooperative Extensive, presented Impervious Cover Assessment Plan and Reduction Action Plan for Fair Haven, NJ to close the meeting.


Background & History

2008 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Stormwater and Microbial Study of the Navesink River indicated baterial pollution, especially after a rain event. 
Click here for additional information. 

In January of 2016 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection closed 565 acres of the Navesink River to shellfishing due to fecal contamination. Click here for additional information.  

In June 2016 Zachary Lees, COA Coastal & Ocean Policy Attorney published a report entitled "Pathogen Pollution in the Navesink River" Addressing Fecal Contamination in the Navesink Watershed. 
Click to read the full report.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you would like to volunteer please contact info@(Spam protected email address)

18 Hartshorne Drive, Suite 2
Highlands, NJ 07732
Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

Charity Navigator, "Your Guide to Intelligent Giving"

A member of Earth Share of New Jersey