Oyster shell recycling program ends

Baysave is sad to announce a halt of oyster shell recycling programs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The program began in 2003 and helped recycle hundreds of tons if shells back to oyster aquaculture and oyster reef restoration efforts. But the program has not been funded since before the pandemic. Baysave was approved for pandemic relief funding, but the funds never arrived from the Small Business Administration that was charged with administering the program. Already in 2023 several usually reliable funding sources have declined applications for support. We are unable to continue operating without community support.

oyster shell pickup in Philadelphia
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Recylced oyster shells are cleaned and then used to rebuild oyster reefs.
government New Jersey sustainability

NJ moves toward zero emissions

Yesterday, 2/15/2023, New Jersey became the 12th state to adapt a zero emissions energy plan by 2035. (Two states use a target date of 2033).

The action yesterday came by executive announcement. Pending legislation like S2978 and A4658 will eventually codify the plan. The governor emphasized that individual rights must be upheld saying “No one is going to be forced to do anything in any way.” He added “No one is coming for anyone’s gas stove,” referring to recent misinformation campaigns. Environmental groups criticize the governor for failing to act on campaign pledges.

In recent years the state did implement a series of policies through the Department of Environmental Resources that control land use and other climate-related development issues. These changes, along with future legislation, will be the mechanisms of change from fossil fuel to clean energy and the continued adaptations for sustainability.


Think globally, act locally

Snags for carbon offset projects

One of the key take home messages from the 2023 World Economic Forum in Davis last week was that our carbon offset market system is not working efficiently. This concept is commonly known as ‘cap and trade’.

The concept is solid. The problem, from our simplified perspective, is that there are too many layers of management and oversight chewing up resources and leaving too little for local ‘shovel ready’ projects. Translating the project goals into a carbon-based accounting system means that we are working in a currency system unfamiliar to all except a few specialists. An emphasis by carbon exchanges on projects in located in remote parts of the world amplifies this problem. There are too many complicating factors for the cap and trade system to work as conceived.

A secondary problem, at least here in the U.S, is that political will is building in opposition to the climate goals adapted by businesses and their customers. Any synergy that could be gained is lost in this environment. Governments historically provide assistance in the form of tax credits; a proven system that is far easier that the carbon credit market.

I fault the AICPA here in the U.S. for not taking a more active role and providing more leadership in this area. Yet I am not surprised. The AICPA seems to focus on the fewer large businesses, not the many more small businesses that dominate this local environmental offset and sustainability market. Despite all the discussion, we haven’t really embraced carbon-based accounting.

The key question remains:

Is there a simple practical way to connect local carbon generators with carbon offset projects here in our own local area without suffering the efficiency losses discussed at WEF? I will continue to look for possibilities.


Request for community support for osprey nest protection signs

Baysave is asking for community support for our Money Island resident osprey pair.

Last season the rush of spring fishermen near our Bayview Road osprey nest disturbed the birds, they spent too long away from the nest, and the eggs died and did not hatch. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Yesterday and today we had visiting fishermen who disturbed the nest. We will take quick action.

NJDEP provided this sign design. We will print 4 of them and mount them on two double-sided plastic display stands. We will need to anchor them to withstand heavy wind on the beach.

Ospreys mate for life and return to the same nest year after year. Please support us in making sure that our osprey pair has a safe and peaceful nesting season.


Thank you!


Maximize the tax benefit of your boat donation

Thinking about donating your boat? Here’s a year end charitable donation caution:

Some charities are advertising that they accept donations of boats. What they don’t say is that to maximize your tax deduction the IRS requires a certified appraisal report by a professional marine surveyor for the donor to take a tax deduction for the full boat value. Without a certified appraisal, the tax deduction is limited to the amount that they get when they sell the boat (in the middle of winter in a depressed wholesale market). This typically reduces the tax benefit of your donation.

Baysave is different. We keep the boat to benefit the local community. It may serve the nonprofit marina or may be converted to develop sustainable aquaculture. The tax deduction amount is based on a potentially higher appraised value. The issue is that these certified boat appraisals are very rare.
We don’t think that there is any charity in our region other than Baysave that has the resources

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, expertise and know-how to take charge and get the documentation that a taxpayer needs to get their boat donation tax deduction. The details, documentation and timing matter.

If you are considering donating a boat, rely on the CPA leadership of Baysave to help our rural bayshore and lock in a safe tax deduction.

For more information see IRS instructions for Form 8283 at

investment New Jersey sustainability

Wording for 2022 campaigns

Strong messaging is important to the success of any organization. We are working on the messaging for communication programs for 2022.

This is one proposal:

“Rural pristine Money Island on the state’s Delaware Bay west coast hosts a New Jersey Clean Marina

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, is the #2 most productive seafood landing port in the state, and is a hub of shoreline stability research and investment. Millions are invested in sustainability already with even greater investments planned for a sustainable future ahead.

BaySave hosts educational programs for qualified investors and recreational users who want to get involved in the early stage leadership in this new type of environmentally sound sustainable redevelopment.

Ask us how you can get involved in this exciting story of New Jersey’s ground zero test site for clean energy, living shorelines and regenerative aquaculture!”


2022 Post-pandemic business recovery plan

Baysave’s 2022 post-pandemic business plan summary is now available.

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oysters regenerative aquaculture sustainability

Update on Oyster Shell Recycling Program

This report for donors explains why we paused the Philadelphia area oyster shell recycling program until we recover from 2020-2021 COVID shutdown period losses. We lost substantial revenue and also essential equipment and infrastructure required for the recycling and other envirnmental restoration programs.

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bayshore Money Island New Jersey sustainability

Trouble at the shore

I am posting this reluctantly because of the danger of racial stereotyping. But we are dumbfounded to explain why more than 4 out of 5 cars of visitors to Money Island this summer season (excluding residents, workers and government vehicles) are Asians from Pennsylvania. We’ve been tracking the state source of traffic based on video license plate data at the suggestion of a regional business development group since the spring. I prepare compilations of random sample traffic data in an attempt to quantify the total traffic and the trends. The original idea was that we might use increased traffic data to request additional state funding. However, the project seems to be back-firing on us as we’ve uncovered so much illegal or controversial use. I am on site daily and do interact with or at least see most visitors. A significant portion of these visitors seem to not understand English language. This complicates the issue. The transformation of visitor demographics and behavior came suddenly and unexpectedly.

While most visitors are good guests, some cause problems either intentionally or unintentionally. At a basic level, the state has not responded to requests to supervise their adjacent property, install trash containers or portable potties. The township and county have not responded to requests to replace road signs (like no parking on bridges) town down in severe weather. We’ve offered funding for replacement signs but still no response from local government. I’ve been physically assaulted by troublemakers twice in the past year here. One of those instances was when I was breaking up a house robbery. I’ve also reached a point of frustration with those who apparently do not speak or read English, thereby providing an excuse to ignore my verbal requests (like do not park blocking construction equipment), ignore the private property signs at the commercial spaces, and ignore a range of other ordinances – not just seafood harvest rules. The original community concerns focused on harvesting of illegal fish, crabs and oysters. But it’s gone far beyond that Fish and Wildlife issue. Apparently the troublemakers also have no reservation about dumping their trash and pooping in the open on the beach. I am not exaggerating when I say that it seems impossible for such a small number of people to dump so much fast food trash. In former years the primary trash on our rural beaches was beer cans an bottles apparently from local visitors. Now the trash is almost all fast food containers brought in be the long distance visitors. Police are not useful in this situation; that’s a whole different issue. Again, it’s only a minority of the visitors who cause problems.

This year I tried a program to allow guests who identify themselves and ask for permission to use my property. But today I lost my temper with a group who has strewn fast food litter all over the property, helped themselves to my fishing and crabbing equipment and pretended to not understand what I was saying (although later one did communicate in English). It’s disturbing. This weekend the problems worsened. Yesterday one of the Asian visitors tried to con me in a crab business deal in a text message conversation. In another unrelated incident Saturday, I reported an attempted financial crime (apparently some type of bank check fraud) to state police and they declined to get involved. I didn’t fall for either of the con game attempts but it was disturbing that this is happening when it never happened before. Overall, the strategy of being a good host for visitors seems to be failing.

I know that the respectful Asian guests are embarrassed by the few bad apples and they are aware of the risks they face in racial stereotyping. Two of the Asian guests are now friends who have been coming here for a long time. I plan to ask their advice this week since they seem to have insight into some of the possibly cultural issues. But at this point I’m leaning toward cutting off all property access except to owners, their guests, and Baysave members. Any other suggestions are welcome but we will not tolerate any discussion that is based on racial profiling or an “us vs. them” mentality.

UPDATE 7/21/2021: In the days following this original post I sought additional comment and advice from multiple sources. One Asian professional friend whose opinion I respect and value in past instances confirmed that much of what I report is a cultural issue and he clarifies this is different from a racial issue. This adviser plus a couple other Asian friends say that disrespect for the environment is actually a cultural thing in Asian countries and that it carries over to some of our country’s Asian people. While almost all of my cultural peers would be ashamed to dump trash on the roadside, apparently some in this culture are not. An example came up in conversation: overharvesting of small crabs was told to be commonplace in Asia (but I did not attempt to verify this outside of our conversation). Another Asian professional friend shows his personal embarrassment with the issue but offers no solutions except the phrase “a few bad apples”. We are all clear to point out that he problem is not limited to Asian visitors. It just happens that hey make up the majority of visitors this year. The primary local Division of Fish and Wildlife officer is clearly aware of the issue and we apparently share similar reservations. I exchanged text messages with our mayor but have not spoken yet. A county official offered empathy but no suggestions. Yesterday my one neighbor and I picked up a tremendous amount of trash from the one block in front of our houses. It filled up two construction bags; more than we’ve ever seen here before. The majority of the trash is fast food containers: Wawa, Burger King, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, etc. My neighbor complained to me that his family is disgusted by the smell of human urine and feces on what used to be a pristine beach. Then
, last evening Lance and I took a walk down Bayview Road, something that we usually do each day but stopped when this recent heat wave came. The amount of trash on the roadside and beach is more than I have ever seen before. There is additional beach erosion from vehicles getting stuck in the sand at two places. It really made me sad and angry that the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection purchased this beach and then did not take care of it and allowed our formerly beautiful pristine neighborhood to deteriorate to such a wrecked conditions. Late last night the security system showed that there was an additional trespasser on the boat yard who bypassed security barriers. I have had time to inspect for signs of theft
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, trash or damage yet. I’ve not made any decision on a course of action yet but am inclined to revoke all free access to our properties; limiting only to owners, members and their guests. That won’t help address the problem of those who trespass or those who trash the adjacent state properties
, so we’ve made no decisions yet. I simply do not have the money required for upgraded live security (as we had for so many years when Bruce was alive). There is a possibility of increased automated security: drones, floodlights, sirens, etc. But that would be more expensive than Baysave can handle right now. We discussed the possibility of volunteers watching the properties. That seems unlikely from a practical perspective. We will continue to look for additional options.


A decade mile mark for Money Island NJ

On this day in 2011 – exactly one decade ago – the Novak family was on a spring break family vacation together in the Caribbean Islands. That was the last time we went away together like this. Shortly after returning home from this trip I agreed to have Baysave take the lead role in the financial and legal operation of the marina and the related research projects at Money Island. A former investor/owner was discouraged by inability to work with state government and the marina operator lacked the general capacity to deal with government issues. I had a strong track record in those days of bringing government and private sector investors together on environmental issues in earlier efforts in Ocean City. I thought I could do the same here. That’s why I was originally brought to Money Island by an investor years earlier in the 1990s. But my stabilization and recovery tactics drew the wrath of state and local governments that, so far, accrued hundreds of thousands of dollars legal expenses prosecuting me and required me to waste money on expensive defensive responses to counter them. I’ve lost count of the number of complaints and court cases I’ve had to defend that have little or nothing to do with me and everything to do with the history of Money Island. My family and community understands this as a significant career mistake, a point well documented in the recent book “The Drowning of Money Island”. I lost more than a million dollars defending Money Island over time – essentially all of my net worth. While our lawyers, consultants and engineers have repeatedly said that the government made mistakes and violated the law, there was little I could do against the unlimited power and open checkbook that paid for the high powered government lawyers in the Attorney General’s Office and local prosecutors. The government denied all requests for alternate dispute resolution

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, including a redevelopment plan widely endorsed throughout the region. An appeal by our well-respected environmental consultant directly to the governor’s office on Memorial Day weekend 2018 also failed.

I am grateful to senators Booker and Menendez, former Congressman LoBiondo, former state Senator VanDrew, the NJCPA, NJ Farm Bureau, the League of Municipalities, and many others who lobbied for a positive outcome here. But we were not effective. During that time I was unsuccessful in obtaining any of the required waterfront development permits that we applied for on key infrastructure projects. The plain truth is that we accomplished very little toward sustainability. It was an expensive failed effort. I never learned the names of the individuals who blocked my permit applications, sometimes in the 11th hour, that prevented us from making forward progress toward environmental law compliance and sustainability. I understood that former NJDEP Commissioner Martin had my photos* on his desk when our mayor arrived for a briefing and misunderstood their implication, complicating the discussion. My complaint over 2014 NJDEP interference in a scientist’s report were squashed. Former NJDEP Commissioner McCabe made at least one unannounced visit but did not stop to speak with me (the only person besides the DFW officer who was here that day). But she halted her department’s legal aggressions against the bayshore community that were based on decades-old permit issues. I wonder if my efforts to push our story to the attention of those handling the state’s environmental justice initiative had any effect. Newly appointed Commissioner LaTourette seems to have a more balanced and holistic approach but I remain concerned over the one-sided inputs in Trenton that do not expose the reality of what is really happening here. As far as I know, none of the post-Sandy reports of bad behavior within the department were properly addressed.

Yesterday my only remaining Money Island neighbor discussed that they are celebrating their success in an eight year effort to obtain a waterfront development construction permit to make their home sustainable for the decades ahead. They asked for my help in bridging the current labor shortage that is holding up work on issued building permits here. I expect to speak with the contractor today to discuss possibilities. (Affordable on-site worker housing is one of the key issues I’ve fought for unsuccessfully. Using a transient work force is still not effective for specific types of work in this remote location). This multi-generational family has substantial financial resources and effective personal relationships within state government. Many of the people who worked on their permit application project were the same as those who worked on mine. But this family built personal relationships over the years with specific key state regulators based on personal interests they have in common that have nothing to do with permits. The patriarch built a strong personal bond over time with one regulator who was a key prosecution witness in the false prosecution against me. That’s not the way government is supposed to work

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, but it did work. It was a smart and effective strategy.

So where are we now? I feel confident that after the state lost it’s expensive multi-year legal case against me last year – solely for not having permits that they failed to issue decades ago and they decline to issue now – their appetite to waste even more money in court on these old issues is faded. Maybe they are more open-minded to my mantra that we should focus on the future and not the past. Our sole problem now is a lack of money to rebuild sustainably. Much of that money was wasted in useless legal maneuvers. Meanwhile, my own operating strategy has shifted to actions that do not require additional government permits. I doubt there will be more litigation over old missing permits. I also doubt that the future will be anything like the past. The businesses that used to operate here – a marina, restaurant, boat rental, etc. will not return under my power due to the depleted financial resources. I endorsed the $30 million sustainable multi-use redevelopment plan led by the township. But that could be another decade in planning. I’ve recently stepped up my legal efforts to hold the state officials responsible for their past errors and crimes. Many of these cases are years old and so the outcome is uncertain. Years of new personal legal battles to recover from these losses is ahead but I’m certain that the government will eventually do the right thing (as we say, after they try everything else first). It’s unfortunate, but I see no other path forward. I will remain focused on probability of success when evaluating any future actions.

Economic momentum has turned and Money Island will clearly be a valuable part of New Jersey aquaculture industry’s future. My best strategy for me is to continue to tell the story – old and new – and continue to build support for a sustainable future here.

Our last family vacation, April 19, 2011. Both children are successful adults now, both still interested and active in Money Island’s future.

*I’ve compiled a collection of thousands of photos of Money Island that may be used in a future publication. I am grateful to former residents and supporters who continue to send photos to document our history.