Posts Tagged ‘Wesley Lake Commission’

Paul Goldfinger © Wesley Lake looking towards Ocean Grove. Click to enlarge.


By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger


June 27, 2017.       The Wesley Lake Commission  got  off to a good start tonight  when they began their meeting with a spirited discussion regarding the main cause of Wesley Lake pollution— storm water drainage from the streets of Neptune Township and Asbury Park.   The Commission clearly didn’t know much about how to remediate the problem but they were anxious to learn.

They brought in a consultant from Maser  Company of Red Bank, Joseph Raftery, P.E.  He had been asked to review the results of Wesley Lake water quality monitoring.

He said that his company had one of their Ecological Services project managers review the data, and Raftery did a pretty good job of discussing the situation.  But unfortunately he made a mistake that cast a cloud over his expertise.  He insisted that Wesley Lake is “man- made.”

His report went on to say, “The water quality results are consistent with most man-made lakes in a coastal plain.”  He said that the “storm water runoff that enters the Wesley Lake brings in nitrogen and phosphates, resulting in a retention pond and/or “sink.”

But Jack and I were concerned when he based his opinions on the notion that the Lake  is man-made.  We have studied the history which clearly shows that Wesley Lake was a natural body of water—an estuary—when the town was founded in 1869.  We posted old maps that showed large streams entering from the west,  and the Lake connecting to and draining naturally into the ocean.  It is true that the Lake was dammed in the past, but water from the Lake still winds up in the ocean.

We have discussed trying to return the lake to an estuary—-ie its natural state.  Raftery never used the E word.

As the meeting ended, Raftery tried to exit quickly, but I caught up with him and asked him why he characterized the Lake as being man-made.  He refused to answer the question as he scurried down the stairs and out the door to the parking lot, saying that he “would not speak to a blog.”   He knew that we were from Ocean Grove.

Why did he refuse to answer a legitimate question about his analysis?  Why wouldn’t he speak to a citizen?  Perhaps he is not the right engineer to be a consultant for a public entity such as the Commission.

His presentation is now all  suspect.


THE CAMBRIDGE SINGERS.  “For the Beauty of the Earth.”  John Rutter

For the beauty of the earthFor the glory of the skiesFor the love which from our birthOver and around us liesOver and around us lies



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Asbury Park storm drain along the edge with Wesley Lake. They seem to understand that they are a cause of the problem. Blogfinger photo ©.


By Jack Bredin, Blogfinger.net reporter/researcher.

According to the 2015 signed “Agreement of Charter”of the Wesley Lake Commission, both Neptune Township and the City of Asbury Park are in agreement that Wesley Lake needs to be dredged, and the Commission will “provide for the dredging of  said lake.”

Both Neptune and AP will share the cost 50-50.  The cost could be $15 million.


Before the EPA, the DEP, and the Green Acre Programs were established, the Lake would be dredged by pumping the silt (mud) into the Atlantic, and the Ocean would run black for weeks. The only cost was the electricity to run the pump.

Now, after years of neglect, 6-7 feet of polluted mud has built up at the bottom, leaving only about 2 feet of water on top of the mud. When the water level is low, aerators in the Lake tip over.  The Lake needs to be dredged ASAP.

Fine particles of polluted materials are carried in the water from off the streets and into the Lake by water that is flowing in one direction.  When the water is at rest in the Lake, the fine particles sink to the bottom, and the elevation (level) of the mud and volume of mud builds up over time.

The dam, erected about 150 years ago,  is what causes the fine particles to settle or “sink.”

Pollution in the Lake is concentrated in the mud, not the water.  The water continues to flow over the dam and into the Ocean.  The Wesley Lake Commission tests the water, but not the mud.

Just testing the water and not the mud creates a false impression of the Lake’s health, when in fact, the Lake is dead.

It’s only a matter of time for the Lake to become one big polluted mud-flat with a stream that flows into the Ocean.

It may cost over $15 million to dredge the Lake, remove the dredged material, and repair the dam and the bulkhead.

Without money, the role of the Commission is limited to the “cosmetic look” of the Lake, and for that they do a good job.

However, if one day the DEP or the EPA takes samples of the mud, they may find the detention basin to be a health hazard, and they could order the towns to immediately dredge the Lake and remove the dredged material, and there is no money reserved for that in the budget.

The only other option may be to “cap- over” the mud and fill in the Lake.  Then the land could become “The Wesley Condo Complex.”

Where does the polluted water come from?  It is mostly from Asbury Park and secondarily from County and State Roads,  all of which violate States’ rights over flowing waters, the DEP Land Use Regulations, and Green Acre Contracts.

As for Ocean Grove’s contribution to street-water runoff, there are only a few catch basins that empty into Wesley Lake, and if that water from OG were to be tested, it would probably meet State Standards for discharge into a riparian Lake.

If not, a small detention basin could be locaated underground at the Lake Avenue walkway to treat the Grove’s water at little cost.

The well-intended Wesley Lake Commission has become a liability for the Neptune Township Committee.  Neptune and Ocean Grove did not cause the pollution problems, but may have to pay half the clean-up cost necessary.   If the cleanup is not done, Ocean Grove may lose the Lake and the open space.

So what can we do? The simple answer is to withdraw our membership in the Wesley Lake Commission because they are violating State and Federal Laws, and let the ones who polluted the Lake—AP, the County, and the State pay for the dredging.


Link to a 2018 Blogfinger article about coastal lake pollution including Wesley.

8/16/18 BF lake pollution article



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Wesley Lake looking east from Ocean Grove. Blogfinger file photo. ©

Wesley Lake looking east from Ocean Grove. Blogfinger file photo. ©

Last night I attended the Wesley Lake Commission monthly meeting with my wife.  While  waiting for the the meeting to start we were remarking that the turnout was not great.  Much to our surprise, when the meeting started, the officials were overwhelmed by the turnout—-about 20 people.


The public part of the meeting seemed very productive.  I believe the well-thought-out comments helped to focus the Commission on the task at hand.  The next meeting is October 21st.  A really solid turnout of 50 or so and we might really see action improving the deplorable condition of the historic and valuable local resource.


Please spread the word as you do so well!


Ocean Grove, N.J., Sept. 17, 2014


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Wesley Lake looking toward Ocean Grove. Photo by Paul Goldfinger

By Charles Layton

The Wesley Lake Commission intends to embark on a fund-raising campaign this fall to rehabilitate the lake, which, as we all know, is polluted and degraded from years of neglect.

According to an analysis by the Commission’s engineer, Peter Avakian, the rehab project will require $12 million, of which $2,312,000 has already been funded.

Dr. Michael Brantley, the Commission’s chairman, said a forum would be held in late September, attended by various officials including the mayors of Asbury Park and Neptune Township, to lay plans for the fund raising. The Commission hopes to get help from corporations and “other interested groups,” he said.

“We are trying to get this lake restored to its original beauty.”

The Commission revised its rehabilitation plan in February, based on Avakian’s cost analysis. That analysis includes an estimated $2 million to dredge the entire lake, an estimated $1.7 million for storm water management, an estimated $7 million to make repairs to the wall and $1.3 million for streetscape improvements.

Some of this work has already been completed or funded by the City of Asbury Park, the Township of Neptune and the Wesley Lake Commission. For instance, Neptune Township has come up with some $800,000 from various sources for wall repairs. Some parts of the wall — particularly at the eastern end on the Ocean Grove side– are in such bad shape that they are in danger of collapse.

The Commission completed a partial dredging of the lake last year, at the western end, but much more dredging needs to be done.

Brantley said the Commission will formalize the place and time of the fall forum at its next meeting, which is scheduled for August 21.

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