Mission: Clean ocean action's goal is to improve and protect the waters off the new jersey/new york coast from pollution, plastics, industrialization and climate change with research, education and citizen action.
Programs: Clean ocean action, inc. (coa)is the only full time coalition dedicated to improving the marine waters of the new york/new jersey region. Founded in 1984, coa brings together and empowers over 115 organizations, hundreds of businesses and thousands of citizens to protect nature's most important resource: the ocean. The professional staff includes a phd and an attorney. The small and effective team applies research, education, and citizen action to reduce pollution and impacts from climate change with fact-based campaigns to implement environmentally-sound solutions. The extraordinary successes include: continued on schedule o accomplishments to pollution and plastic reduction, and climate change impacts led campaigns that successfully: ended ocean dumping of eight ocean dumpsites off the coast of nj blocked ocean industrialization, including seven liquefied natural gas facilities passed the nation's strongest state law prohibiting offshore oil and gas activities with support of 99% of nj legislature passed the nation's strongest fertilizer control law to protect nj's coastal waterways reduced sources of raw sewage protecting swimmers from sewage removed plastic pollution including over 6 million pieces of trash from nj beaches and created a data base for regional litter and plastic reduction efforts established the region's largest enviromental litter reduction event, beach sweeps, and collected over 6 million pieces of plastic reduced the use of plastics in communities, businesses, and by individuals conducted a statewide assessment of microplastics along the entire nj coast improved the management of dredge material created a coastal watershed protection program, called rally for the waterways created a municipal pollution reduction certification program, called blue star education programs coa created the beach sweeps - the region's longest running largest bi- annual volunteer citizen science event for all ages that puts feet on the beach and hands in the sand to reduce marine debris and collect a legacy of information that is used to identify sources of marine debris, monitor trends and promote solutions. Coa also developed "water mindfulness" programs to engage people in pollution reduction at the local level, as well as coordinating diverse and engaging educational programs for all ages (youth - seniors), to reduce pollution, climate change and plastics. Research programs coa conducts research on plastics, pathogens, and chemical pollution by engaging citizen science with rigorous oversight by the phd staff scientist. Research is coordinated with state and federal agencies, as well as with outside scientists to ensure quality. Citizen action coa acts as a watchdog by responding to and investigating calls from citizens about polluting activities. Action campaigns, including meetings and rallies to inform the public and record testimony, petitions and letter-writing campaigns, are prepared with scientific technical and legal expertise to ensure protection of marine water quality from pollution, including from pathogens, chemical, and marine debris.
I first met Cindy Zipf, founder of Clean Ocean Action in 1987, when I was the full-time legislative aide to a member of the NJ State Assembly. The New Jersey coastline was threatened by medical waste that could potentially affect the health of residents and vacationers to the Jersey Shore, but also the economy of the region. Clean Ocean Action (COA) was effective in generating awareness and mobilizing volunteers then, and is still active 25 years later. COA earns the highest marks on many levels: it effectively works with state and U.S. Congress officials of both parties, identifies new challenges (such as the current threat of LNG terminals), keeps administrative costs low, and maintains a very responsive staff that blends scientific, administrative and marketing knowledge with their strong commitment to keeping the ocean clean for future generations.