On Thursday, June 4, Dr. L. Stanton Hales Jr. (known by most of the mayors as Stan) updated the association on the state of Barnegat Bay. Hales is Director of the Barnegat Bay National Estuary Program based at Ocean Community College in Toms River. He said that efforts to protect the bay have accelerated with additions to program staff and a number of active efforts, including a cooperative program with the county health department to develop a jellyfish threat network. The goal is to help beach and bay-front communities protect bathers from the often troublesome invertebrates. The estuary programs is also involved in research efforts to help fight eutrophication. Generically the term refers to an abundance of nutrients; where the bay is concerned it’s an overabundance. Hales said that in the absence of hard data, most experts believe that the nutrients are nitrogen and phosphorous most likely from fertilizers. Challenges to the bay include low levels of the dissolved oxygen needed to support some life forms that once thrived in its waters. Hales stressed that efforts to protect the bay require a coordinated effort by all the municipalities in the Barnegat Bay watershed. For more information on the Barnegat Bay National Estuary Program visit www.bbep.org.