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The name “Money Island Marina”

This post is intended to clarify some issues related to the name “Money Island Marina”:

The name “Money Island Marina” was filed as a fictitious name with the Office of the Clerk of Cumberland County, New Jersey in 2012.

We are aware that there is more than one “Money Island” in New Jersey and more than one “Money Island Marina” in the U.S.

“Money Island Marina Inc.” was previously used by two now defunct New Jersey business organizations not related to us.

“Money Island Marina LLC” was used by the immediate past management but is not authorized for continuity action after 2018. We anticipate that the entity will be extinguished by the state for non-payment of annual LLC fees.

Streamlined guest policy

Streamlined guest policy:

  1. Read and be familiar with the guest policy at https://moneyislandmarina.com/guest-policy/
  2. Identify yourself in a text message to Tony at 856-237-9199 (just one time)
  3. Text “I agree to the terms of the guest policy” (just one time)
  4. Let us know what/when/who you will be doing each time before you come. Give us advance notice when possible. (Example: “I’m coming with my kids tomorrow morning and we would like to use crab traps, bunker and the 3 passenger boat.”)

Green head fly traps

Green head flies are a significant problem at the bay shore from late June until the middle of August. Around July 15 harmless dragon flies appear in large numbers and they reportedly eat the green head flies.

Rutgers University conducted research on green head flies and tested various types of traps to reduce their numbers. The study concludes that it is possible to reduce the local population of flies and they published the design of the trap that seemed to work best.

We took that design, toughened it up, used materials designed for long life at the bay shore and even added tie downs to make them hurricane proof. (We haven’t actually had a hurricane but the traps have sustained 70+ mph windstorms).

Our traps are made of plywood and treated 2x4s, with galvanized steel corner brackets, “lifetime” deck screws, and two coats of Sherwin Williams Super Deck stain. We think they will last a decade even in extreme weather conditions. Screen life varies from one product to the next so we are unable to forecast the screen life.

The glass bowls that collect the dead flies are heavy enough to withstand most weather and inexpensive to replace if necessary.

Almost immediately after setup they begin catching flies.

We are asking for a $200 tax deductible donation to Baysave and will be happy to deliver a trap as a thank you. See https://www.baysave.org/donate for online payment.

Money Island Water System

The Money Island Marina water well was drilled by Vance Skinner in 1948.

In a 1971 report by the NJDEP in cooperation with the US Department of the Interior Geological Survey the well is listed as a “semi-public system” operated by the Pollino family that ran the marina at that time. The well was 374 feet at that time and it was drilled to 400 feet more recently. It taps into the Cohansey-Kirkwood aquifer.

When I first arrived at Money Island that well served all of the houses from the Bayview Bridge to the cabins on Nantuxent and the commercial docks. Each home paid $100 each year to tap into the system. The lines for that system remain in the ground but are not used.

Over the years additional wells were installed but most are (or will be) eliminated through the Blue Acres buyouts.

After Superstorm Sandy we made major improvements to modernize the well, replace the pump, bladder and elevate the pump house. That work was performed by John Roesly of Cedarville. A new line was installed under the road to my cabin. The well was placed on a separate property deed.

In the past decade the Cumberland County Health Department began harassing the Money Island users of the semi-public system. That was likely a consideration of some property owners who elected to sell their homes to the state.

We briefly considered licensing the water system as a public utility but realized this was impractical in such a small community. Our inspection costs would be the same as a larger city system with many more users. I made some legal changes to bring the marina properties and my properties into compliance but didn’t have the resources to challenge the government on their claim the island’s water system was not grandfathered as legal.

Money Island hit hard by virus shut down

The Delaware Bay remains empty. The State of New Jersey is hard hit by the coronavirus with the second highest number of cases of all states in the nation. Here in South Jersey, the rate of spread, measured in the number of infections and deaths, has not yet peaked. Our fishing and related industries are especially hard hit. With restaurants closed, the commercial markets for fish are closed. Marinas lost most of their 2020 rentals. Recreational fishing and party boats have been shut down. Here at Money Island, the effect is amplified. Money Island is the state’s second most productive seafood landing port and the bay’s primary oyster landing port. Yet in 2020, landings are minuscule compared to other years. Most of our commercial boats are not operating. The crab shedding operation is closed. Some local businesses have already announced publicly that they are unable to reopen this season. Others are suffering silently.

Idle crab traps

The CARES Act allocated $300 million for the commercial fisheries industry. Some of my clients hope to recoup partial losses from this money. Yet more than a month after the law was passed, no funds have been distributed. The proposal that NOAA offered is unfair to New Jersey in that it is based solely on dollar value of the fishing industry last year and does not consider the impact of the virus had on the industry’s losses. Losses are clearly worse in New Jersey than in other seaboard states.

A number of industry groups and all New Jersey’s federal legislators are lobbying for us. A representative from Jeff Van Drew’s office called me Sunday. Yet I fell like I’ve been down this path before: seven years ago after super storm Sandy. After many months and years of intense work, no financial assistance was provided for recovery. Again this year, just like in the past, it is not the natural event but government’s reaction that is causing the financial pain.

The Money Island Marina is still in significant debt from Sandy losses. We missed a final scheduled tax debt repayment on April 1 because of the industry shut down. The prospects of reopening and sustaining any of the businesses here seems remote at this point.

We must keep trying, but there are no solutions on the immediate horizon.

Fishing boats in an earlier year.

Boat Fuel at Money Island

During this pandemic shutdown boat fuel is available to shareholders and licensees by private arrangement. We no longer offer drive up fuel sales to the public.

By now you might have noticed that our local gas stations in New Jersey are selling E85, an automotive fuel with 15% ethanol. This is suitable for cars but not for boats. To be clear, no outboard manufacturer endorses this fuel and using it may cause engine problems and possibly void your warranty.

Some marinas may sell the E85, but we do not know why. This is a disaster in the making. We do not sell it. Even with additives, it is unsuitable as boat fuel. We recommend the use of ethanol-free fuel for all outboard boat engines.

Do not pump gasoline from a station into a portable tank and dump it into your boat fuel tank. If you do, it’s only a matter of time before you have engine problems and miss some nice days on the water.

Here are a few tips:

  1. If you want boat fuel (gas or diesel) here at Money Island, please just ask, we can have it delivered. We do not have enough people here to warrant the high state fees to sell it ourselves.
  2. Keep a few sealed quart cans of ethanol-free fuel (photo below) in your car or boat for emergencies.
  3. Use fuel additives as recommended by your engine manufacturer.
  4. Gas without ethanol is available and it is apparently legal to use in New Jersey. It’s just not legal to sell it. It may need to be purchased out-of-state. We can help you get it on request.

Recent history of Money Island New Jersey

Money Island was built on the shore of the Delaware Bay in Cumberland County, New Jersey, from the 1930s to the 1970s mostly without the benefit of permits, surveys, licenses, etc. That led to 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.

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.

Money Island is primarily a seafood landing port. 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. In 2019, however, some of the commercial watermen moved out of Money Island because the state closed their docks.

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 by threatened government legal actions against homeowners. Most find it more economical to move out than to spend the money to meet government demands. Less than 10 houses are currently occupied on a regular basis. Some of the few remaining residents stayed because they can’t afford to sell and relocate to a new location, especially not a waterfront location. As of mid 2020, almost all of the remaining residents state an intention to remain here.

The recreational marina had such a low level of utilization in the past decade that continued 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. The property owner kept the marina business  open without charging rent to help accommodate the recently deceased marina manager. Despite the low usage, both public and private interests are committed to maintaining public access to the waterways here. Now the marina is a private use facility.

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.

Results of research by The Nature Conservancy and its partners is encouraging. We’ve shown progress on restoring species diversity, preventing shoreline erosion, rebuilding elevated infrastructure, and moving toward energy independence.

The government consultant for the Money Island Marina community met with officials at NJDEP in May 2019. They report that an agreement in principal has been reached to allow proposed restorative aquaculture and sustainable redevelopment. Meanwhile, however, permit approvals to make the necessary improvements to current infrastructure are currently stalled by state government actions.

The mayor of Downe Township government reports publicly that 30 million of dollars of private and public funding required for permitting and rebuilding of Money Island has already been identified but that these proposed sources are contingent on state government action of releasing property liens. The township passed an ordinance authorizing the purchase of properties at Money Island though eminent domain. While that action and timeline is outside of our local control, most doubt that government will be able to raise the money required for this redevelopment. We believe that a public/private partnership will likely be required. Money Island is now in a ‘waiting pattern’ for the state government action to complete past purchase contracts and halt current litigation over the remaining properties. That will trigger the availability of new funding to address these other issues and launch a new era of environmentally sustainable redevelopment.

Private redevelopment action is led by Nantuxent Corporation. The company’s focus is on built-to-suit commercial dock sales.

A book about Money Island was released in November 2019 and a follow up film is anticipated. No production schedule is established.