Update on Money Island New Jersey

The short version: The marina is closed while we wait for specific state officials to do what they said they would do. It is taking much longer than expected but we expect eventual support.

For those who have not followed the recent history of Money Island, this is a quick summary, current as of April 9, 2019:

  1. Money Island was built on the shore of the Delaware Bay in Cumberland County, New Jersey, from the 1930s to the 1970s without any permits, surveys, licenses, etc. that leads to many regulatory compliance problems today because of the decades-old missing paperwork. We propose to address these paperwork deficiency issues with legal redevelopment that accounts for future use, higher water levels, frequent flooding, and increased wetland erosion. Research on sustainable infrastructure and restorative aquaculture is already underway here by a handful of educational and environmental groups. Meanwhile, however, permit applications to make improvements to current infrastructure have been denied and the state government recently obtained court order to shut down most existing facilities.
  2. Water level rise is a major factor in the redevelopment plans. While more water is good for the proposed future aquaculture uses, it is not good news for traditional human uses. It could also be devastating to the grass marshes that are washing away at an alarming pace. By 2050 Money Island will likely be completely underwater except for the reconstructed infrastructure designed with this expectation.
  3. Money Island is primarily a seafood landing port. In fact Money Island is New Jersey’s second most productive seafood landing port worth millions of dollars to the local economy every month in oysters, crabs, and fish. The larger regional seafood companies have proposed expanding here and are quietly acquiring more of the waterfront space. Eventually Money Island will be the primary site of the region’s expanding oyster nurseries. A growth in Delaware Bay oyster production of 1,000% to 2,000% is possible within a decade. For 2019, however, some of the smaller watermen have moved out of Money Island because the state closed their docks.
  4. The residential houses are disappearing. This is a voluntary choice of the owners based primarily on the observed effects of water level rise. Buyouts are exacerbated but not forced by government actions. Less than 10 houses are currently occupied on a regular basis. Some of the few remaining residents stay because they can’t afford to sell and relocate at the current low property values that have fallen more than 90% over the past decade. If finances were not an issue, we suspect that all residents would relocate.
  5. The recreational marina declined to such a low level of utilization in recent years that operation as a commercial entity was impossible. From 2016 to 2018 the marina averaged just one customer per day. The marina accumulated more than 10 consecutive years of financial losses and had to obtain supplemental funding by local nonprofits organizations since 2010. Despite the low usage, both public and private interests are committed to maintaining public access to the waterways here.
  6. The local government and community groups created a redevelopment strategy for the bayshore region that specifically focused on a sustainable redevelopment plan for Money Island as the region’s premier aquaculture center and seafood landing port. That plan has not yet been formally supported by state policy makers. The business of saving one storefront community for economic reasons while abandoning other communities as the water level continues to rise will continue to be politically difficult. Still, we expect that the need for seafood production increase will eventually win in this political struggle.
  7. Results of research are encouraging. We’ve shown progress on restoring species diversity, preventing erosion, rebuilding elevated infrastructure, and moving toward energy independence.
  8. The government consultant for the Money Island community recently met with high level officials at NJDEP. They report that an agreement in principal has been reached to allow proposed restorative aquaculture and sustainable redevelopment. No formal, legal and actionable steps have been taken yet.
  9. The millions of dollars of private and public funding required for permitting and rebuilding of Money Island have already been identified but all of these proposed sources are contingent on state government action. Access to redevelopment money is not expected to be a the problem in this case. Investors are actually fighting for primary positions in the redevelopment plan once it is approved.
  10. We are in a ‘waiting pattern’ for the state government action to halt current litigation over past lack of permitting that will then trigger a release of new funding to address these other issues.
  11. A book and film about Money Island will be released soon and we hope this will bring attention to our situation.

Planning for 2019 at Money Island

Looking ahead at the planned redevelopment of Money Island, we know that there will be many changes with an uncertain time frame. About half of the homes are recently removed and more will be removed in the future.

Some of the immediate changes on our campus focus on increased physical and operational security. Anyone associated with the marina in a position of handling transactions or equipment will be required to provide a background investigation report. Information will be provided on a case by case basis. Members will be provided with a bright ID tag.

The marina is currently closed for winter during this permitting phase. We do not have a reopening date, but a plan is in place to reopen Husted’s Landing Marina first, then Money Island later. Things will definitely be different here in the future and we don’t know those details yet. This list of changes will change as we get feedback from the state, developers, local government and others. But this is what we see so far for 2019:

Facilities expected to be open to members:

Beach

jetty

boat launch (defined as the concrete or gravel structures on the ground at various locations)

rafts

kayaks

boats

decks

picnic areas

nature walk areas

gardens

roadways

parking areas

refrigerator/freezer

Ice machine

Bait cooler

storage areas

recreational and commercial docks on sites not designated by the state

water service

Docks on sites not closed by the state

 

Facilities expected to be closed to all:

ramps on sites designated by the state

docks on sites designated by the state

walkways on sites designated by the state

fuel system

bathroom

Blue claw crab pricing

This is typical non-holiday cooperative pricing for live local blue claw crabs from local harvesters:

HARD SHELL under 5″: From $.50 to $1.00

HARD SHELL over 5″ but under 5 1/2″: From $1.00 to $2.00

HARD SHELL over 5 1/2″: From $2.00 to $3.00

HARD SHELL over 6″: From $3.00 to $5.00

SHEDDER: $1.00 to $2.00

SOFT SHELL: typically $4.00 to $5.00

Why prices change

Crab pricing varies daily. Supply and demand are the biggest factors affecting the price and these are mostly outside of our control. But there are some pricing factors that you can control. Our commercial crabbers typically harvest blue claw crabs in smaller quantities, often in response to specific orders or expected demand. We sell live ‘swimming crabs’ at the marina in a tank individually. Crabs are then bagged or boxed for live transport. Marina members may use on-site equipment to cook and clean their crabs but most transport them live.

How to order in advance

Call or text with the quantity and date needed to 856-237-9199. We will respond with an electric invoice. Price quote is good for 30 minutes. We will confirm receipt of payment and confirm the order. Once paid, the order is confirmed and you are protected from any price change.

Delivery

We offer delivery when a driver is available at approximately the same rate as Uber. We will cost-match the lowest cost current option.  An online calculator of delivery cost is available here.

Get the best deal

These factors affect your price that you can control:

1) advance payment (reduces price more than any other factor)

2) pickup or delivery details (time and location).

3) number of crabs (discounts possible over 50 crabs)

4) day of the week (crabs are more expensive on Friday and Saturday)

Quantity needed

Most people plan to serve 3 to 6 crabs per person. Your guests may be different but this is our experience in hosting dozens of crab dinners for a variety of groups of dinner guests.

Numeric Grading

Crabs are traditionally graded numerically (#1s, 2s, 3s). We do not use that system because that grading varies between sellers and locations and even recently changed here in the local commercial crab market. In other words, the term “#1s” doesn’t have any precise or widely agreed upon meaning so it has limited value to crab buyers.

Bushel pricing

Crabs are traditionally packed and sold in bushel baskets. We do not use this method but will accommodate a customer request for a bushel basket. (We do sell crab baskets, new or used, with or without crabs). If you buy a bushel of crabs from anyone, be aware that it includes some dead crabs. The industry standard is up to 20% dead crabs.

Crab cleaning

We only sell live crabs as required by food safety laws but is is common for crab customers to hire an independent local dock worker to clean crabs in exchange for a tip. We can usually help make this connection on request but the details of the arrangement are up to you. Cleaned crabs should be kept on ice or refrigerated.

Last minute deals

We often offer special daily deals on mixed sized crabs or unsold quantities at he marina. In most cases the price remains the same but the offer includes an extra number of crabs. Those deals are posted on social media and are valid only until those specific daily crabs are sold on that day. These deals are short-lived, sometimes as short as 30 minutes before unsold crabs must be shipped to a wholesale dealer.

Ticketing for Sunday August 12 Event

On Sunday August 12 at 7:00 PM we will host a meteor show watching event for our members and quests at the marina. Because the event has the potential to attract more attention than we expected, we are implementing these ticketing policies:

  • The event will be limited to 40 adult ticket holders. Children don’t need tickets.
  • Marina members can obtain tickets for themselves and guests.
  • If you are not a member and don’t know any marina members, call and ask to speak with our membership manager.
  • Ticket are offered for a $15 donation per adult donation to Baysave, a 501(c)(3) and NJ registered charity.
  • Tickets are cancellable in writing via text message up until 10 AM on the day of the event. After that you are on the hook for the amount of the donation.
  • If we cancel the event for weather or other reasons, the donations may be refunded.
  • Payment can be made electronically (we can sent an electronic invoice) or paid later at the door. (As with all marina transactions, members can use ‘house charge’ and settle later).
  • Tickets will be issued via text message.
  • To get tickets, fill out the secure registration form here. and look for text message confirmation. Use the text message as your ticket.

OTHER INFORMATION:

  • State law requires children to wear a life jacket when on docks. The best option is to bring your own. We have a limited number of loaners and some available for sale.
  • Plan to wear bug spray at dusk and night-time at any event on the water. Bring your own or we have it available if you don’t.

NJ Clean Marina Program

NJ Clean Marina logo.jpegIn 2013 through 2015 Money Island Marina went through an intensive internal training, planning and implementation program under the guidelines of the NJ Clean Marina program. It took us many hours and cost thousands of dollars but the resulting change in operational procedures was well worth the effort. This program led us to cleaner and more sustainable business practices. It also provided benefits to other stakeholders.

In the spring of 2015 we completed our final on-site inspection for certification with program Director Mike Danko. After some months when we did not receive the promised plague indicating completion of the program, I called the program administrator. He said that the program had run out of funding and he hoped that funding would be restored.

Now, three years later the program is still apparently still unfunded and idle. The web site is still up but hasn’t been updated in these past few years. Our application is still pending.

At the July 2018 NJ Sustainability Summit I had time to consider our position on this and made a decision to promote the NJ Clean Marina program in hope of drawing public attention to the fact that this program despite our marina’s status.

In August 2018 the program administrator for the state of New Jersey said that NJDEP has blocked our acceptance into the program but refused to name the official who took this action. We believe that this is part of a larger series of moves taken by the NJDEP to specifically target this Money Island marina community. We are now working with our elected officials on a legislative solution.  Unfortunately the NJDEP has a long history of murky internal governance and avoidance of influence by elected government.

Looking ahead to June at Money Island

In June the fishing and crabbing gradually picks up. We will be eating eat lots of crabs, oysters and local fish. We will see some larger flounders, hopefully a few bluefish runs and plenty of stripers.  Most of the stripers are small but there are larger ones in the creek. Perch are always here but it takes some time in the creek or timing of the tide if dock fishing. We will have minnows, grass shrimp, squid, fiddler crabs and shedder crabs and bunker for bait.

We can take purchase orders for live crabs at any time. Market price varies but we will confirm on the day of the order. Delivery is also available. Stay tuned for availability of fresh soft shell crabs. This year we will take advance online payment before taking delivery from the crab boats.

Our two fishing kayaks are available to members and, in limited circumstances, the marina jon boat is available.

V__7070

The marina is open 7 days a week. Officially we open at 6 AM but sometimes coffee isn’t on until 7. Similarly, we close early if nobody is around. If you are coming early or late in the afternoon, please call ahead.

The two sandy beaches (on the cove and at the Gandy’s Beach end of the island) reopen on June 7 after being closed for seasonal migrating bird feeding. We saw more of the South American red knots here this year than last and that was encouraging.

Captain Bruce is organizing charter trips throughout the month and a Ladies Fishing Day on Sunday June 10. Somehow I don’t think many will mind if we see more glasses of chardonnay than fish.

By the middle of the month we will reopen the front transition dock for dock fishing after finishing substantial repairs from winter damage.

We still have plenty of new boat slips  and dry dock space still available and we will continue to recruit new marina members. Prices are a little bit higher than the pre-season amounts but we have plenty of room to make a great deal for the right boaters. Download this document for complete information.

V__63CC

Tony has investors visiting Money Island on several days early in the month and has a meeting with State Senator Van Drew scheduled on June 11. This is important to the future of our community.

It is traditional to open our facility to the public on Father’s Day, Sunday June 17, for a free community event. It hasn’t been a big event lately because we don’t market it much. We will offer boat rides, food and loaner equipment.

Members of a fantastic group of Philadelphia-based business owners called Powermatch are visiting on Saturday June 23 for a day of fun and seafood barbecue. All marina members are invited to join us.

We will celebrate Tony’s birthday  on Saturday July 7 with a seafood barbecue party. In recent years that has been the biggest event of the year here because the whole family shows up. Again, all members are invited.

MOST IMPORTANT: All events are weather dependent. Some say “June is for the bugs” and we take this seriously. We rely on sunny days with a steady breeze to keep us bug-free. Without these two, it simply isn’t worth being outside in June.  When the wind is blowing at more than 4 mph we don’t have a problem. Notice that the locals wear loose fitting long sleeved clothing and long pants. We have bug spray and sun block at the bait shop.

IMG_0054

Boat Ramp Disaster at Money Island in the 1990s

Leroy Pierce sent these photos that he took in the middle 1990s when he was working for Towboat US. Leroy wrote “we dove to get crane attached to get the marina crane out. Then the tow truck which had the boat trailer attached. Tried to bring boat up on slack low tide. Marina crane was trying to lift trailer over concrete ledge while tow truck pulled up. Crane slipped on wet ramp pushed tow truck into creek and went over ledge as well”.

MIM-disaster-1.jpg

MIM disaster 2

MIM-disaster-3.jpg

MIM-disaster-4.jpg

MIM disaster 5

MIM-disaster-6.jpg

Cheap dock space for larger boats

C4 and C5

We recently negotiated the availability of dock space for larger vessels at Money Island. Our largest commercial dock tenant has extra space so we agreed to make it available to others. This dock space is ideal for recreational or commercial boats not in active use, or sale, estate ownership, or repossessions.

Price: We estimate that our dock space is half the rate of Cape May New Jersey, 40 miles to our south. Our target rate is $65 per linear foot annual rate and lower short term rates as low as $35 per day are available.

Vessel Size: We can theoretically accomodate any size vessel up to 150+ feet although some modifications would be likely necessary for larger size vessels.

Depth: Greater than 12 feet at low tide.

Accommodations: Our marina is rustic and rural. Water and electric are available at some locations.

For more information: Ask for Bruce or Tony

KIDS MARINE ADVENTURE CAMP APPLICATION

TJR Charter and Guide Service

Money Island Marina

856-447-357

KIDS MARINE ADVENTURE CAMP APPLICATION

 

  • Child’s name:_____________________________________________________
  • Age:___________________________________________
  • Sex:                 Male                                           Female
  • Does your child have any restrictions? Yes                            No
  • If any, state them: ________________________________________________
  • Would parent be willing to volunteer for one session?

Yes                  No

Payment option- Make any check payable to Money Island Marina, 192 Bayview Road, Newport, NJ 08345

Cash or credit payment accepted. Payment must be received two weeks prior to camp. Camp size is limited so please sign up early.

Camp is open for persons of age groups 10 to 13 and 14 to 16. Bait, tackle, life jackets and water will be provided while you will be responsible for sunscreen, insect repellants and rain jacket.

Kids should dress in light weight long pants and T-shirts, caps and sneakers (no sandals).

I will be using my boat for part of the class 1. I am a licensed captain and I am insured.

For question call Captain Bruce- 609-501-9349.

I have read this application and give my child _________________________________________ permission to attend this camp.

Signature:_______________________________                        Date:____________________________________

Camp dates: Saturday July 14th                                 Saturday July 21st,

Saturday July 28th                                Saturday August 4th

Time to be decided.