Bayshore Center at Bivalve is a place-based organization dedicated to creating a more resilient, sustainable, enriched Delaware Bayshore region. We engage people of the Bayshore Communities, of Cumberland County and of New Jersey and beyond in Bayshore issues and activities, do outreach and programs with local schools and in the community, and advocate the needs of the region to leaders.
We welcome and encourage community from near and far to engage and enjoy our many programs!
Rising Tides Initiative
Bayshore Center at Bivalve has convened an ongoing forum for dialogue and action in response to the rising sea level and all that it entails for New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore region.
Hurricane Sandy was the latest in a long series of blows to Delaware Bay communities. Sixty years ago, the thriving oyster industry was devastated by disease. Low fish stocks and aggressive fishing regulations have taken the wind out of the sails of bayshore marinas and charter boat businesses. Bayfront communities are struggling for their very survival - indeed more than half of Cumberland County's historic Delaware Bayfront communities are gone or about to be gone for good. Today, increased frequency and severity of storms —with Sandy as the most visible--and the prospect of rising sea levels have made it clear that the time for action is now.
The goal of the Rising Tide Forum is to bring together the people of New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore and focus their attention and energies on readiness for the ‘rising tides’ and sustainability for this and future generations.
In order to be successful, the people of the Bayshore first have to think of themselves as part of a larger group – beyond a homeowner with problem or a township resident, or an oysterman or a farmer. The Rising Tide Forum aspires to bind these people (us) together as the People of the Bayshore with a common cause of appreciating their place and its myriad resources at the same time as recognizing their distinct vulnerabilities to sea level rise and all of its repercussions.
Consensus building is used through facilitated meetings, focus groups for drilling into thorny issues, coalition building for seeking funding for priority projects and development of a communication network for ongoing dialogue and public engagement. Projects are undertaken by partner organizations, municipalities, the County and non-profits. Ad hock task forces set up where piggybacking on existing efforts won’t work.
NJ's Delaware Bayshore Recovery Plan
Immediately after SuperStorm Sandy, Bayshore Center at Bivalve was asked to lead the FEMA initiated regional resiliency planning effort for Maurice River, Commercial, Downe and Greenwich Townships and Cumberland County. Thirteen months later, the 26 project Plan was completed. The Plan has four primary areas of recommendations: 1. Coastal restoration, 2. Infrastructure 3. Inter-governmental relations and 4. Tourism & Economic Development.
Bayshore Center has been tracking progress on these 26 projects, advocating for their completion and leading some.
CCIA has recently taken the lead to advocate on the project that was identified as the absolute top priority in the consensus driven Bayshore Recovery Plan - the restoration of the mouth of the Maurice River. The Maurice River Task force is a loose coalition of entities interested in the River as a federally designated navigable waterway, a regional economic driver and a natural resource of national significance.
The Bayshore Council, the top intergovernmental recommendation of the 26 project Plan, recently became a reality through the efforts of the NJ 1st Legislative District and concerned bayshore leaders - including BCB.
Tourism & Economic Development
The Bayshore Center at Bivalve leads the Tourism & Economic Development Task Force (the TED) , that meets monthly to implement the recommendations of the plan in that category. It was a lesson learned from Katrina that recovery, resiliency and sustainability from a disaster is predicated on a healthy economy -- and NJ's Bayshore region has long struggled to prosper.
Bayshore Center and other TED partners have been implementing initiatives to support bringing more visitors to the Bayshore to enjoy the internationally significant natural resources of the area, its rich history and culture, and, we hope,to spend some money here with local businesses. To this end, BCB has launched the website and marketieng campaign Discover Delaware Bay (Hyperlink here); initiated wayfinding signage in the region with the help of CCIA and the Pascal Sykes FOiiundation, hosted the Bivalve Fishermen & Farmers MArket with the support of USDA Rural Development; and is setting up a Business Outreach Center at BCB.
reTURN the Favor is a partnership effort of many south Jersey nonprofits and the state of NJ, lead by the Wetlands Institute, to rescue stranded Horeseshoe Crabs from desiccation and predation when they get stuck on their backs on Bayshore Beaches.
Bayshore Center is responsible for managing the volunteers who patrol Fortescue (and Raybins Beach), Gandy's Beach, Money Island and Moores Beach. Some of these beaches are closed to the public while the shorebirds are migrating through and we coordinate rescue walks within times allowed by the offical NJ permit to rescue crabs.
reTURN the Favor Orientation for Volunteers is the last weekend in April annually at BCB. Stay tuned to the returnthefavornj.org website for detailed date and time.
Bayshore Center at Bivalve hosts the Chamber by the Bay which includes all Cumberland County NJ communities on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 4 pm.
Bayshore Center hosts Port Norris Rotary on Thursdays.
Ever since Superstorm Sandy tore through the Bayshore region, BCB has been helping the community recover and be more resilient. Through much community engagement it has become evident that the economic well-being of the region is paramount to its resiliency, growth and success—a successful local marketplace boosts the economy, builds resiliency and supports the area’s entrepreneurial spirit .
We have amazing products here but many of them are shipped far away to be enjoyed elsewhere
and we don't get the credit we deserve. Our seafood is a major part of our legacy as is our produce—and our people are incredibly creative and resourceful. A local marketplace to provide the outlet for these locally sourced commodities builds the region’s reputation for quality product and expands the market for local goods while benefiting residents and small businesses.
This Bivalve Fishermen & Farmers Market enables entrepreneurship, supports local fishermen and farmers, encourages development of new products and provides an outlet for hand crafted items unique to the region. Fresh markets are gathering places where families can bond with neighbors and visit with friends; they also allow people to get closer to their food sources and give them the opportunity to
support local fishermen and farmers. Produce offered at farmers markets is typically higher in quality, more flavorful, fresher and more healthy than the produce typically found in other outlets. Fishermen and Farmers, in turn, can interact directly with their customers, building relationships and fostering
customer loyalty while potentially generating greater profits than if they sell their produce wholesale.
Cumberland County Long Term Recovery Group (now closed)
In the immediate aftermath of Sandy, Bayshore Center stepped up to the plate to lead the Cumberland County Long Term Recovery Group, and raised over half a million dollars from NJ Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, Robin Hood Foundation, local and national Rotary Clubs and several national church organizations which it spent assisting in local recovery efforts for families with unmet needs - and there were many such families. Cumberland County was not included by the state as one of the 9 'most impacted' counties - even though more than 10% of certain Bayshore town's ratables were effected and entire communities devastated. Many local churches and nonprofits partnered to create CCLTRG to serve as a privately funded safety net for families. Bayshore Center continues to advocate for the people and resources of the Bayshore.