Pattern of storm damage

11158135_10202791096018779_1825366092_n

11156996_10202791095698771_973245521_n

Visitors to Money Island this spring may notice some debris in the meadow on both sides of the road coming into the neighborhood. This accumulated after January’s storm with extraordinarily high levels of floodwater. The wreckage comes from Gandy’s Beach that has historically always been hit harder than Money Island because of its unprotected location. These photos are from a much earlier storm that shows debris from Gandy’s Beach piled up alongside the roadway on Money Island Road at the bend about 3/4 mile from the marina. The houses that were destroyed in earlier storms were replaced with modern structures but the new buildings are now feeling the effects of the most recent storms. The 2016 damage is mild by comparison despite local sea level rise of about 10 inches since then. The land visible in the background of this photo is now below mean high tide level so that sets the stage for greater damage in the future for structures that were not engineered to survive these severe conditions. With proper engineering,  however, building can survive whatever nature has in store for us in years to come.

Nantuxent Creek 1904

Newport Landing 1909

This is a photo of Newport Landing in 1904 about a mile up the winding Nantuxent Creek past the cove at Money Island. At that time there was no settlement at Money Island as far as we know. The causeway that became Money Island Road probably wasn’t built until the 1930s. Back then Newport was primarily used to ship agricultural products including tomatoes. Today the landing is used for smaller recreational boats but not the type of large boat shown in this photo. The large commercial boats relocated to Money Island closer to the mouth of the bay. Oyster and crab boats line most of our shoreline especially on East Nantuxent (aka Shell Lane). Money Island is still the second most important commercial port in South Jersey bringing in about $28 million in seafood annually.

Flounder, perch, striper, bluefish, weakfish, crabs

Flounder, perch, striper, bluefish, weakfish, crabs – the six main targets of Delaware Bay fishermen. Yet many associate the bay only with weakfish. In fact weakfish have been tough to find in recent years and it may be a few more years until we see a rebound in the fishery. But the other fish have carried the weight. Each year one species comes on stronger while another is more elusive. As the saying goes – that’s why they call it ‘fishing’ and not ‘catching.’

Here are a few photos of the fish caught at Money Island. What’s your favorite?

blue claw crabs
blue claw crabs
assorted fish catch
bluefish and one flounder
striped bass
striped bass
weakfish
weakfish
white perch
white perch

Description of Money Island

The web site discoverdelawarebay.org includes a description of Money Island. We suggested this update that includes a few facts about the working waterfront community:

Money Island was once a robust salt hay farming outpost at the juncture of the Delaware Bay and Nantuxent Creek. Now, all that remains are a few houses, a marina and the docks where the days oyster catch for most of the bay is landed. In fact, most of NJ’s Delaware Bay oyster catch is landed here. Commercial crabbing, conch, eel, bunker and soft shell crab operations contribute to make Money Island an important if obscure cog in the local commercial fishing economy. Total annual seafood catch is estimated at $28 million per year making Money Island the second most important seafood landing port in South Jersey. Money Island is the base of several environmental restoration projects in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, BaySave, Rutgers University and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

The village also has much to offer the casual visitor or day-tripper. Recreational fishing is hot across all seasons; the marina maintains floating fishing docks open to the public daily. Enjoy the panoramic view from a shaded table on the large waterfront deck and check out the soft shell crab operations in season. The diversity of wildlife is startling.

The roughly 40 houses wind from the Bayfront along the mouth of the fast moving Nantuxent Creek and then follow its eastern bank as it winds back through acre after acre of marsh and farm fields dotted with islands of cedars and flanked by pine forests.

Eagles nest up the creek and can be seen daily moving from bank to bank. Great Horned Owls are known to call from the clumps of trees in the creek side back to the cedar islands on the outskirts of town.”

IMAG00063

Marine Trades Association of New Jersey celebrates recent success

The trade group is grateful to State Senator Jeff VanDrew and Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak for their leadership

Marina Trades Association celebrates success reducing salestax on boats
Marina Trades Association celebrates its recent success in reducing the sales tax on boats to 3.5%.

Three years ago Money Island Marina joined the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey (MTANJ) with a considerable investment of time and money. Few south Jersey marinas are active in this professional group and none of the other businesses in the Delaware Bay region are represented. It was a frustrating experience at first since relatively few people from the northern part of the state are even aware of our existence nor the severe challenges faced by the Delaware Bay communities and businesses. We quickly became aware how insignificant the south-west region is to the state’s overall economy and how unfair and devastating a “one size fits all” government can be to our sustainability. But over the course of three years Tony built relationships that appear to be leading toward recovery paths for the marina.

Last night in a rare meeting in South Jersey, the group gathered in Somers Point to celebrate recent successes. It is close to a miracle that NJ government approved the 3.5% sales tax reduction for boats in the State of New Jersey. The law passed in December and already became effective last month. Association members met with representatives of the Division of Taxation to work out the details in January. The association praised our State Senator Jeff VanDrew and Assemblyman Rob Andre  for their leadership on the project.

Over the next year I expect that Money Island Marina will be involved in several more public/private partnership projects to improve our docks, boat ramp and land-based facilities to enhance public access to the waterways. We will upgrade our waste water treatment to meet the latest standards. Our electric supply will continue to transition toward solar, wind and other sustainable and renewable sources. Our well and pump house may soon be approved as the only fully permitted privately owned multi-dwelling water system in the entire state of New Jersey! Melissa Danko, Executive Director has been a big help already. Her husband Mike visited us at Money Island last summer in his official capacity with SeaGrant but has been equally helpful in an informal capacity with introductions to others who may play an important role in our recovery plans.

Yet none of these recovery projects are cheap. The cost of these projects is far beyond the economic value of the marina’s holding or income capacity. We can’t possibly do it alone. Yet it appears that we now have the verbal support of federal, state and county government officials as well as a number of non-profit organizations who want to see the marina remain in operation and succeed for the overall benefit of the community. We are grateful to MTANJ for all its help and guidance over the past three years. We expect to announce further progress in the near future.

I encourage other area businesses to consider joining and supporting this effective trade organization. – Tony