Categories
sustainability

Latest federal guidance on seafood consumption

Over our lifetime dietary advice has changed substantially in response to accumulated information. In a sense, it’s amazing how slow we are to learn about such an obvious relationship between the body and health. The latest accumulated recommendations are compiled in a federal report issued this summer. The full report is available at https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/2020-advisory-committee-report.

The report gives significant attention to the role of seafood in the diet and this blog post summarizes the findings and recommendations. As background and introduction, it may be helpful to emphasize that most research, discussion and publication of dietary impact of seafood over the past decade or more has focused on two primary issues: 1) the positive cognitive/neurological development impact of omega-3 fatty acids, and 2) the negative effects of toxins from human pollution referred to as heavy metals ling-lived organic compounds and that are absorbed in fish tissue and then ingested by humans who eat fish. Both are significant concern for seafood harvested locally in the Delaware Bay.

The latest report confirms that the scientific literature supports the health benefits of seafood consumption alone or as part of an overall dietary pattern across life stages. However, concern remains over ingestion of toxins contained in seafood. Earlier reports concluded that the health benefits from consuming seafood outweigh the risks associated with potential toxins, including exposure to methylmercury and persistent organic pollutants.

In the latest federal dietary recommendations significant attention is given to the relationship between seafood consumption at various life stages and the health risks associated with coronary vascular disease and cognitive/neurological development. The conclusion of the federal report is that there is insufficient evidence to establish the relationships – either positive or negative – with seafood overall. Specifically, no conclusion regarding the relationship between seafood consumption during childhood and adolescence and academic performance, ADD or ADHD, anxiety and depression, and ASD could be drawn due to an inadequate number of studies and variation in outcome assessment and child age”. (Emphasis added)

The report does conclude that “Intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA from food sources such as seafood and algae, lowers blood triglycerides, and in adults, is associated with lower risk of CVD”. CVD is the abbreviation used in the report for cardio-vascular disease. In other words, the report confirms what we knew about omega-3s.

The report’s overall conclusion on seafood: “Choices of fish and seafood with emphasis on species higher in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and with low methylmercury and are advised, following Federal and local fish and seafood advisories”. The emphasis on local fish advisories is important; that’s been the focus of most of my reading and commentary over the years. I also want to emphasize two things:

  1. Our primary local Delaware Bay seafood products – oysters and crabs – are not associated with the seafood products in the category of higher risk of toxins and are associated with the positive health benefits of seafood.
  2. The three species harvested locally that are associated with higher risk of toxins – striped bass, bluefish and perch – do have dietary consumption recommendations and the risk can be reduced through cooking procedures. Specifically, the recommendation is to avoid cooking or ingesting the dark tissue areas.

Categories
sustainability

Baysave Wish List

A business adviser coached us to make a wish list for Baysave a long time ago. We are just getting to it now; here goes:

  • A small dump trailer
  • A front end loader
  • Aluminum boats 14′ or larger
  • Dock Blocks
  • Pontoon boat
  • Ice machine
  • Broken concrete
  • Clean fill
  • Camper/RV
  • A builder partner
  • A lawyer partner
  • An engineer partner

Categories
sustainability

Soft footprint

There’s a concept among environmentalists described as “leave a soft footprint”. When we interact with nature we always affect it. The simple concept here is that it is better to minimize the human impact.

Here in Money Island we have strived for decades to build bigger, stronger and heavier to achieve sustainability. That hasn’t worked out well. Nature always proved more powerful.

Now the approach is “soft footprint”. Mobile tools and machinery. RVs, campers, and tents instead of buildings. Floating movable structures. Temporarily moored boats instead of hard docks. Boats on trailers instead of always remaining in the water. Lightweight, portable and replaceable.

The transition is already underway and may take years to complete the transformation. But the end result will be a more gentle relationship between humans and nature.

Categories
sustainability

Money Island Update

I spoke with the mayor when he called this week during storm cleanup and while I’m glad to hear from him, I was concerned with the amount of misinformation in the conversation. Today I followed up with this note:

the “old Money Island” before the current program to return most of it to a natural state

“It was good to hear from you last week and I know you have your hands full lately after this recent storm. I’m glad to hear that there are still possibilities open for the township to be involved in redevelopment at Money Island. I am pleased to work with you on plans for Money Island but am concerned that you have received some misinformation on a number of issues listed below:

LEGAL STATUS
First, the state dropped all complaints against me and Baysave on June 24, 2020. I then paid off all the tax liens for the dry lots. That was the plan as proposed more than two years ago when Dr. Mahaney was handling government negotiations for us. So far, so good – that part is working out as planned. Even if nothing else happens, the future of Money Island is financially secure.

LIENS FOR PREVIOUS UNPERMITTED DEVELOPMENT
Second, all violations and liens remain on all the affected former marina properties covered under the scope of the township’s ordinance authorizing acquisition. You may recall several months ago that I passed on a request from the Attorney General’s Office that the township acknowledge that fact. You did not respond to that request except to tell me that it must be a “two-way negotiation”. I’m not involved in that negotiation and it does not concern me. Baysave continues to work on addressing these permitting and land use issues for the dry lots only. The cost of compliance exceeds the property value, but I am still willing to raise the funds for this cause. In general, we see a future of undeveloped land that does not require permits or redevelopment.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF FUTURE OWNERS
Third, the Attorney General states their intention to resume litigation against the future owners. They refer to the Township and the former owners because the Attorney General apparently sees the lax former permitting enforcement and the Mauros as more directly culpable in the land use and permitting violations that may exist today. That is not my opinion, but rather the opinion of the Attorney General’s office as stated in Superior Court. It is my opinion that the Township did a disservice to itself by passing an ordinance to acquire the former marina properties. That makes you (the Township) a potential target of future state litigation.

MORTGAGE UNENFORCEABLE
Fourth, Superior Court has already made a finding or fact that the Mauro’s mortgage is not secured by a note (a debt). That fact was also confirmed by the local attorney, a former marina client, who drafted the deliberately faulty mortgage document. In other words, there is no way that the Mauro heirs can foreclose now; the document was specifically designed by the makers to prevent that. It’s not a matter of getting a better lawyer to represent them as you suggested. Any further attempt at legal action on this previously settled legal matter would be met with my counterclaim for a frivolous action. The point is that you should not waste your time scheming with the Mauros. They will not play any significant role in the future here. If you want to plan for the future of Money Island, then you should be speaking with me.

REMAINING TAX LIENS
Fifth, the Mauro heirs would be best advised to focus on the best course of action for the ten remaining tax liens on mostly submerged properties. I’ve offered to pay off the tax liens either now or at a future date even though there is no financial reason to do so. I know that the Attorney General will not sue me again if I continue to work through Baysave for resolution to open issues. The Mauros could foreclose on the liens for ten below-water properties but that would likely net them less than negotiating a settlement to relieve themselves of pending liabilities on the properties.

DREDGING
Sixth, our understanding is that it is too late to exert influence on the dredging process in Nantuxent Creek. I agreed to delegate the activism responsibility on that project to the oystermen at least two years ago. I understand that Steve and others negotiated in good faith and worked out the best plan that was available under the circumstances and that the matter is now closed; that dredging materials will not go to Money Island. If that changes, I am open to getting involved in lobbying for a different outcome.

BLUE ACRES
Seventh, there is no active negotiation with the state about acquisition of additional properties at Money Island. I last spoke with state Blue Acres officials several years ago. Again, I’m not opposed to it, just saying that the rumor you heard was false.

POSSIBLITY OF NO REDEVELOPMENT
Finally, I do not necessarily agree that it is essential that Money Island former marina properties be commercially redeveloped. I believe they can serve as undeveloped space and that is what I see as a practical matter. My current plan is to keep the dry lots for a part-time personal residence. Some of the other private property owners here at Money Island have reached the same conclusion. All of the existing and proposed business plans here do not depend on redevelopment or the issuance of additional government permitting. While I am open to that possibility of redevelopment, it is not a required part of the plan for the future of Money Island properties. I’ve taken a “believe it when I see it” approach toward redevelopment here but am willing to join and financially support a community effort that seems reasonably possible.

I look forward to working with you on the future of Money Island and our township in whatever direction it may evolve. I’m grateful for the dedication and service that you have made to our township. I just hope that by setting the facts straight we can avoid any more missteps from misinformation”.

Categories
sustainability

Update on storms in New Jersey

Edit: Shortly after the publication of this blog post the New Jersey bayshore was struck by tropical storm Isaias in early August 2020 that did more dollar damage than any other storm and wiped out 3 of the remaining 12 homes at Money Island. The storm brought unprecedented waves exceeding ten feet directly on the properties on the western creek bank that caused substantial damage to Baysave managed properties.

Storms are an important part of the New Jersey story, but not something that we’ve talked about much lately. In fact, its been a year since the last edition of “Great Storms of the Jersey Shore” with no need for updates. I recently purchased a read a book specifically about the tidal wave that hit the bayshore region back in 1950. The accounts of our history invariably center around the life-changing effects of storms.

A storm in 2009 toppled my office trailer 11 years ago today. We rebuilt it stronger, higher and anchored to be more secure only to have the entire area wiped out by Sandy in 2012. This lot across from the boat launch ramp still sits empty today.

“The reality is, according to numerous scientific studies, these types of storms are already becoming much more frequent and with greater intensity, due to rising global temperatures and climate change, and will continue on this pattern. In fact, one study determined the heaviest 1 percent of rain events in the Northeast region of the United States have increased by 42 percent since the 1950s.” – Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla in a statement following the city’s flooding last month.

In other words, normal weather events and minor storms will cause more damage in the future than in the past. These are not headline events, but powerful subtle forces at work.

This past year has been unusually calm; NJ weather seldom made the news. Unusually powerful weather events have not affected too many of us lately. This can lull us into a sense of complacency. But east coast shore towns are still facing more frequent flooding and other storm effects will return for the rest of us.

Here in our town of Money Island on the Delaware Bay, routine tidal flow – and not so much storm effect – is now causing more damage as the moving water carries more energy to higher levels. We will certainly see more destruction of infrastructure ahead as community rebuilding with new wet-flood-proof technologies does not keep pace with ongoing erosion.

https://science2017.globalchange.gov/

Categories
investment Money Island sustainability

Unstable property values bring stress and new opportunities

Our local property values at the bayshore peaked in 2006 and took a big dive since then. (The chart produced by Zillow below doesn’t even show the largest declines before 2011). I’ve worked on a few projects for investors over the years and each is shocked to see the data.

Taking all the available long term data as a whole, it is clear that each event we’ve lived through: the financial crisis, changing government procedures, Sandy and buyouts have all had a clearly identifiable impact on property values here. The more recent sale data swings are interesting and not so easily explained.

The scariest part now is that over 40% of homes have negative equity (compared to 8% nationally), and that’s only on bank loan balances, not unrecorded environmental compliance liabilities that are HUGE in many waterfront properties.

Yet the many challenges bring just as many opportunities. I’ve found that some people are eager to tackle it and others just don’t want to talk about it and prefer to just deny what’s going on. But the smarter investors extrapolate the data to forecast other impact.

Categories
sustainability

How innovation impacts the bayshore

The primary factor influencing future use of the bayshore is evolving technology. Baysave operates under these four principles:

1. We don’t know what we don’t know.

2. We act as through all of the good stuff has already been invented.

3. The technologies for stabilizing, restoring and utilizing our bayshore are yet to be invented.

4. It takes too long and is too expensive to change or deal with government regulation so we focus on innovation that does not require government approval.

Categories
sustainability

Baysave business plan summary 2020

We felt a need for a very short simple summary of our plans for 2020. This covers it.

https://1drv.ms/b/s!ArEdWi-QTK8umYwXc6Bz7dNhen-97w

Categories
redevelopment sustainability

Baysave Recognized as a New Jersey Sustainable Business

Small businesses across New Jersey are starting to save money, share their successes and inspire other businesses by implementing sustainable business best practices. Joining this list of small businesses, Baysave located in Millville, New Jersey, became one of the first businesses in the state to be recognized as a New Jersey Sustainable Business.

In August of 2014, the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC) launched the New Jersey Sustainable Business Registry. The registry is an Internet site where businesses that have implemented sustainable business practices can register their achievements and be recognized.

Baysave first achieved recognition for work stabilizing the bayshore community of Money Island. Their living shoreline stabilization efforts resulted in the reduction of erosion that resulted in substantial savings of dry land. Recent efforts include coordination of government programs and commercial fishing operations to promote economic stability.

Baysave’s business listing and programming records are available at http://registry.njsbdc.com/business-profile/459/483/baysave .

For more information about the registry visit: http://registry.njsbdc.com/
For more information about Baysave Association visit: www.baysave.org

Categories
sustainability

The Disaster After the Disaster

Halloween evening, seven years ago tonight, I was on the phone planning a return trip to check on my home and business on the New Jersey Delaware bayshore wrecked by superstorm Sandy. I knew that we would rebuild and recovery from the physical damage. That’s what we do. We are a tough resourceful community.

What I didn’t know then was the extent that government would go to hinder our recovery with blatant fraud, extortion, opportunism and conflicting personal agenda of bad actors at all levels of government. Those of us at the lowest level of income and opportunity were victimized a second time by post-Sandy government. The struggle for environmental justice continues today.