Floodplains allow for gradual absorption and dissipation of flood waters. Although a large portion of Ocean City is heavily developed, the beach, coastal wetlands, bay islands and freshwater wetlands still provide floodplain functions and wildlife habitat, while the dune system buffers the uplands from storm waters and prevents flooding. Disturbing, filling and paving interrupts these functions and may increase flooding in nearby areas. For this reason, development of the floodplain is very closely controlled.
Protecting the adjacent water from land-based pollution is another function of the floodplains. In our developed areas it is important to keep litter and pollutants out of the streets to prevent them from being washed into the salt water through the storm drains. Pollutants from streets include pet waste, cigarette butts, automotive oils and antifreeze as well as lawn fertilizers and pesticides. In the same way, keeping litter from the beaches prevents it from washing into the ocean. The quality of the water is very directly dependent on the activities on the land!
Pollution on streets, parking lots and lawns is washed by rain into storm drains and then into our ocean and bay. By making small, easy changes in our daily lives, we can keep common pollutants out of storm water. The following are some of the things that are mandated by local law, that you can do to help keep Ocean City’s natural water clean and healthy:
· Limit your use of fertilizers and pesticides
· Do not pour hazardous products down the storm drain or where flood waters are found
· Do not litter
· Pick up and properly dispose of pet waste
· Do not blow or place grass clippings or leaves into the street
Storm water pollution is one of New Jersey’s greatest threats to clean and plentiful water. By doing some of the things that are outlined here, you can help to preserve our precious coastal environment.