Archive for the ‘Wesley Lake in Ocean Grove’ Category

19th century map shows that Wesley Lake (Long Pond)  is an estuary. subject to riparian laws.


By Jack Bredin and Paul Goldfinger reporting from Blogfinger.net  on March 10, 2018

As we said in our WASSUP section tickler below, there are those who are coming around to agreeing with Jack Bredin and Blogfinger that Wesley Lake, a waterway with an estuary legacy, is in fact owned by the State of New Jersey who has the authority to make declarations and offer permits about riparian rights.

Those entities include at least one member of the Wesley Lake Commission. Also the same information regarding Shark River was presented at a recent meeting conducted by two Ocean Grove lawyers, experts on riparian rights.

Unfortunately, those two lawyers did not mention Ocean Grove’s riparian concerns involving the Wesley Lake name change, the dumping of dirty street water from Neptune and Asbury Park into the Atlantic Ocean, and Fletcher Lake.

We at Blogfinger intend to continue our update about these matters, but, for those of you who want to know the background, here are some BF links that you should read or re-read. No other media source, nor the Township itself, or the useless Home Groaners, will offer you these insights.  Every day we get at least 500 visits, so over a week or two, you can imagine how many different people might be seeing our posts about the Wesley Lake situation.

Here are some links for your review:


Who owns Wesley Lake 2016 BF post


2017 post on renaming Wesley Lake


Wesley Lake history with Ted Bell BF 2017


Environmentalist comments


Wesley Lake–an estuary


Editor’s note:  We hope to move this ball up the field shortly, so watch for our latest 2019 update.




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Wesley Lake (Retention/Detention basin) Paul Goldfinger © Ocean Grove, New Jersey


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Monmouth County Museum. Photo by Surfer.. Click to enlarge.  Reflections from glass.


Closeup of opening to the ocean which is shown as a sand bar easily traversed back and forth by the  Ocean.


From Surfer, an OG resident:

Went to Monmouth County Historical Association museum in Freehold on Saturday
Interesting 1877 watercolor of Wesley Lake from Asbury side.
You may notice two things:
1. Size of lake much larger and lots of boats.
2. Apparently the beach was not connected between Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, so the lake could flow in/out. That is why one had to take a ferry boat to/from AP (and later pay a penny to cross a bridge).

Trace the streams into Wesley Lake (Long Pond) and the communication with the Ocean.

Editor’s Note:  There are those affiliated with Neptune Township who have argued that Wesley Lake  (recently named the Wesley Detention-Retention Basin) is a “man made lake.”
Here is a link to one of our posts on that subject:
CARLY SIMON:  From her album Into White

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New Jersey Avenue Bridge across Wesley Lake–OG side. Paul Goldfinger © June, 2018



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Wesley Lake bridge over troubled waters.   Paul Goldfinger ©

By Jack Bredin, reporter/researcher and Paul Goldfinger, editor @Blogfinger.net

The answer to the riddle above is that they both are unclear.

At the last meeting of the Neptune Township Committee, Resolution #18-153 was passed.

In the meeting agenda it says: “Res.#18-153—-Award contract for water quality* management services at Wesley Lake.”     But the kind of “water quality” remediation that this contract will supply has nothing to do with the pollution and toxic destruction of Wesley Lake.   It’s about plant overgrowth, and that is not about water quality in the usual sense of the term.

What we have with this resolution is a  contract with Black Lagoon Pond Management to treat the Lake with chemicals:  herbicides and algicides, to control algae and weeds which tend to overrun the Lake  starting each spring and continuing to September.    Their proposal for Wesley Lake refers to “2017 and 2018 Pond Management.”

The company will be paid about $12,000 to do this, and the cost is shared by Asbury Park and Neptune.  A. Park’s budget is such that they cannot “afford” to share in the cost now, so the Neptuners will pay their half now, while A. Park will come up with their part later in the year.

According to the Black Lagoon proposal, Wesley Lake is in “The City of Neptune Park.”  This company has “more than 40 years of combined regional experience” but they cannot figure out which town they are working for.

In the contract, Black Lagoon says, “Aquatic plant and algal densities in ponds are sustained by runoff inputs from the surrounding watershed.  Run-off typically carries high nutrient concentrations from fertilizers, rich soils, septic leach fields and waterfowl wastes directly into the  ponds.  Elevated levels of nutrients and warm water temperatures create conditions favorable for algal and weed growth. Until such time as the root cause of nuisance growth in the pond can be mitigated, a seasonal regime of chemical treatment can maintain an acceptable level of water quality.”

So, have any of you seen a farm with heavy fertilizer use in Asbury or OG, or septic fields, or rich soils (we have sand,) or huge flocks of pooping waterfowls?”  No, what Black Lagoon left out was the toxic water pouring into the Lake from (mostly) Asbury and Neptune street runoff as well as OG street runoff.  (minimal.)   That is the main source of the water quality issues in the Wesley Detention-Retention Basin. As for the “watershed,” there is no watershed map in existence that we know of.

In their contract, they say that the plant life which they will be destroying represents “nuisance growth.”  So this plant life of weeds and algae is largely a cosmetic problem and  does not begin to get at the actual pollution found in the Lake, and especially in the mud which allows only a few feet of water to exist at the surface.  About the only benefit to the Lake ecology is to prevent plants from choking off oxygen which fish need.  But will the chemicals harm the fish?  It’s possible.

Water testing is done regularly by another company   (bacterial counts, pH, gasoline, heavy metals, etc)  but they don’t test the mud.

So Black Lagoon thinks we are discussing a pond and they think that the chemicals which they use to kill rogue plants would “maintain an acceptable level of water quality,” but is what they do really achieving “water quality?”

They also say that the chemicals which they use are monitored by NJDEP.

So, what will the two towns do to address the most serious issues affecting water quality in the Lake including toxic and dirty  street water runoff?  As the contractor says, to get clean water,  the “root cause of  runoff into the Lake must be mitigated.”

And a key element which would be needed is dredging of the entire Lake, and that could cost millions.

It is fake news on the part of Neptune Township to give the impression that $12,000 spent on Black Lagoon will improve “water quality” in the Lake.  These Neptuners have their heads in the sand, and they are playing peek-a-boo with the citizens who care about Wesley Lake.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN:  From the Seeger Sessions

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Neptune Township Committee Room at the Mother Ship….Is anyone listening at the dais?


Wesley Lake by Paul Goldfinger ©


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor and Jack Bredin, Reporter/Researcher  @Blogfinger.net

At the end of each Committee meeting,  citizens finally have the chance to bring up any subject they wish, even if it is not on the agenda. The only problem is that the speaker who steps to the microphone only has 5 minutes.  Typically, during that 5 minutes, the Committeemen do not interrupt, although they may. But the real problem is that they rarely actually respond to a citizen’s comments. When your time is up, you must stop speaking.

Jack Bredin goes to most of those meetings, and when he is there, he makes a point to speak for 5 minutes during the “privilege of the floor” also known as the “public comments” portion. He prepares his remarks very carefully and he reads what he has prepared.

At the February 26 Monday meeting, Jack decided to focus on the naming of Wesley Lake on the official Township Tax map where it no longer says Wesley Lake; it says Wesley Detention/Retention Basin.  We have written a number of posts about this issue.  You can use the search box at the top right and type in Wesley Lake or other key words.

When we post a number of articles about a subject, we always try to move the ball up the field with something new, as we do now.   But repetition is also valuable as a teaching tool.

Below is the key point which  Jack made on this occasion when speaking  to the 3 Township fathers who were present.

“The name change of Wesley Lake to “Wesley Detention/Retention Basin” on the Tax Map is ineffective because the Tax Map is now inconsistent with all other Township maps that identify this body of water as public open space reserved for recreation and conservation.

“All Township maps must be consistent in identifying Wesley Lake as either a lake or a detention/retention basin.  It cannot be both, and the Township Committee is responsible for all these maps and their consistencies.  All Township maps must be reviewed every six years.”


Editor’s note:  The Committee has to make a clear choice on behalf of the public.  Are our tax dollars and grant money to go towards restoring “Wesley Lake” for the enjoyment of all the residents, or will the money go to help a few local developers by designating the lake as the “Wesley Detention/Retention Basin?”

Blogfinger believes that the Township Committee has already made the choice when it named the chartered governing group the “Wesley Lake Commission” and not the “Wesley Detention/Retention Basin Commission.”  This naming discrepancy among the various maps needs to be resolved because those two names imply totally different functions for that body of water and it effects whether or not dirty street water can be permitted to enter the lake.

An important fact is that the Tax Map is the official map of Neptune Township, and only the Committee can make changes.  Yet, at a previous Committee meeting, no member of the Committee recalled  approving this change.    Of all the maps in town, this one is the only one that refers to Wesley Lake as a Detention/Retention Basin.  The Asbury side calls it “Wesley Lake” as do all the other Neptune maps including the Master Plan map, the Zoning maps, the ROSI maps and the (missing) water shed map.

The ROSI is an inventory of recreational and open spaces in a town. This list ties into Green Acres funding. Wesley Lake is on that list.

Here is a link regarding this topic from last November. This post is important, and be sure to read the comments as well:

B.B. Wesley Lake name change controversy

CONNIE FRANCIS    It’s Italy day on Blogfinger:

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Wesley Lake postcard.   Undated. Click these postcards for more detail.

Notice how rural the Asbury side appears. There are many trees there which are mostly all gone now.  There are boats at both shores, but especially on the Ocean Grove side.  Lake Avenue appears to be a boardwalk , and clearly it was not intended to be a street. There is no bulkhead back then.

From Ted Bell:

In the early 1800’s there were seven coastal bodies of water from Avon to Long Branch draining into the Atlantic Ocean. By size Deal Lake was the largest with Long Pond (later, Wesley Lake) as the smallest. Years passed, and Wesley Lake became more of a recreational area with over 300 boats available for pleasure and transfer of people from and to the camp meeting grounds of Ocean Grove.

Eventually bridges were built connecting Ocean Grove to Asbury Park.  Tolls were collected and shared by the two communities, until the cost of the bridge was paid from the tolls collected.

As a coastal lake Wesley Lake had a natural opening to the ocean. Tides occurred every 12 hours as there was no natural barrier to the flow of sea water into and out of the Lake. Early pictures show a debris line along with some vegetation along the lake shore with a band of sand/silt further up on the sides.  This is an indication of tidal action.

Several dams were constructed at the ocean end, turning the Lake into a fresh water lake. The tidal line disappeared. The Lake, over the years, became a silt basin with occasional overflows from heavy rain storms. The question of  State Riparian Rights is not addressed in the Annual Reports of the Camp Meeting.  The area around Fairly Island was also filled.

At some time the Lake was bulk-headed. The two level terraces from Pilgrim Pathway to the ocean were filled , and a cement wall was constructed (? PA project.)  The rest of the lake was bulk-headed.   The bulkhead eliminated most of the pleasure boats due to docking problems of the passengers embarking/disembarking from the boats.

ANNIE LENNOX  from her album Nostalgia:

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Submitted by Ocean Grover Vincent Cannavo. Special to Blogfinger. Click to see more  (or Seymour.)

Vincent Cannavo found a number of Wesley Lake photographs on line which carry a copyright date of 1903, although the photos may have been taken earlier.  In this image  you are standing on the OG side  of the Lake. We can see boats for hire as well as the A. Park amusements. Vincent points out how different Asbury looked back then, although the OG side (we will show more of these images) looks unchanged.  Notice how Lake Avenue was a walkway back then.  No horse poop in sight.

That’s not surprising because the OG side managed to be a planned town, and the Victorian houses were somehow preserved even though there was no zoning, HPC or historical designations.

We could use some insight from those of you whose families are multi-generational in the Grove.

What else do our readers see in this photo?   Thanks to Vincent for these images.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger







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Ocean Grove, NJ, October, 2017. Protecting our lakes and ocean within our boundaries. Riparian rights. Paul Goldfinger ©.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

An environmentalist with knowledge of Ocean Grove discussed some aspects of the Wesley Lake situation with Blogfinger.  We focused on two issues:  One is the ecology of the Lake and what to do about it, while the other is regarding the name change on the Neptune Township tax map from “Wesley Lake” to “Wesley Retention Detention Basin.” Regarding the latter, he brought up concerns about jurisdiction, as to who is allowed to make changes to the Lake, such as the name.

1. Ecology.   It is his opinion that unless something is done “soon” to fix Wesley Lake, it will eventually turn into “a swamp.”  He sees the “silt” buildup  (“siltation”) on the bottom of the Lake as a the major issue now, with buildup that needs to be measured “right down to the original bottom.”  He says that the deepest part of the Lake is at the west side, and that would be where the deepest  buildup  of silt is located, and that the situation has “gone from bad to worse.”

He says that the west end already operates as a “sink”  (where water has no way out,) and that there are too many “drains” dumping street water and its contaminants into the Lake. He believes that aggressive dredging could produce a result that would allow for clean water and the result could last for a long time. But he is not an engineer.

Regarding the  original stream that brought fresh water into the lake, he thinks that the development  around the Lake forced the Lake’s managers to fill in that stream while capturing the stream’s flow using a “pipe” which, he believes, still supplies water to the Lake.

2. Name change.  Our environmentalist says that the only way a name change could be done legally would be to obtain a “riparian right grant” from the NJ DEP and then to pass a Neptune Township resolution to go ahead. But he knows of no such resolution or grant. He says that the land under the Lake is owned by the State of New Jersey.  He also questions whether Neptune Township received a riparian grant for the bulkhead wall  (we do know that God did not build it) or for the dam at the east end.

The same would apply for the Asbury side where a wall was built of metal years ago, and more recently a dock was built for the swan boats currently operating there. Did AP get riparian grants for those projects?

Definitions:  Riparian water rights  is a system for allocating permits among those who possess land along a waterway’s path.  The quotes below are from a variety of sources:

“The general rule is that the State of New Jersey holds title to all lands now or formerly flowed by tidal waters.” That would be Wesley Lake.

“Riparian rights are the rights of owners adjacent to tide-lands to be the first to request the use of those areas. These lands are owned by all of the people of the State of New Jersey, so you must get permission from the State for the primary use of these lands in the form of a tide-lands license, lease or grant, and you must pay for this use.”

“Influenced by Roman civil law, the tenets of public trust were maintained through English Common Law and adopted by the original 13 colonies, each in their own form. The grants that form the basis of the titles to private property in New Jersey never conveyed those public trust rights, which were reserved to the Crown.”

“Following the American Revolution, the royal rights to tidal waterways and their shores were vested in the 13 new states, then each subsequent state, and have remained a part of law and public policy into the present time. Tidal waterways and their shores always were, and remain, subject to and impressed with these public trust rights.”

“All lands and waters extending seaward of the Mean High Water  line are held in trust by the state of NJ on behalf of the public. The rights of the public are vested in the state as owner and trustee. These publicly owned lands include tidelands, shores of tidal rivers and streams, the land beneath oceans and tidal rivers and streams (submerged lands) and filled lands formerly flowed by the tide”   (There also are some areas east of the MHW that are subject to the same rules.)

Our consultant believes that the Wesley Lake Commission should contact the NJ DEP to learn if the projects previously implemented at the Lake were legitimized by riparian rights permits; and whether that infamous name change was done with DEP permission.  If not, the name should be changed back to Wesley Lake supported by a resolution from the Township Committee.

RITCHIE VALENS    “We Belong Together.”


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Wesley Lake muck at the west end. Paul Goldfinger photograph March, 2017. ©


Wesley Lake bridge over dirty waters. Paul Goldfinger photo ©



By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

The Wesley Lake cleanup is a fine gesture, but it is essentially cosmetic and useless in terms of the fundamental problems that have been identified regarding the pollution of the Lake.  This event consists of some kids and adults spending 3 hours picking up trash lying around the edges of the Lake.

One boat will be out on the Lake to try to do something about floating debris.  This event is run by one of the OG members of the Wesley Lake Commission who also wears a hat representing the Friends of Wesley Lake.

If you want to know more about the serious issues facing the Lake’s ecology, just do a Blogfinger search in the box above and type in “Wesley Lake.”

And here is a link to our latest post on this subject:

Wesley Lake at a crossroads. May, 2017 BF post


THE STANDELLS:   “Dirty Water”     This song was suggested by Interlocutor.  It’s by a Boston rock band that is referring to the dirty water in the River Charles, but it can rub elbows with Blogfinger as we talk about the dirty water in Wesley Lake (minus the “frustrated women, the muggers, and the thieves.”)

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