The newest franchise to set up shop in downtown Toms River isn't a store, repair shop, or lawyer's office - but the work that's done inside the building has an impact on all of them, and all of us.

Dr. Stan Hailes, Barnegat Bay Partnership DIrector (Barnegat Bay Partnership)

The Barnegat Bay Partnership (BBP) is in its first week of operation on Haines Road after many years on the Ocean County College campus.

BBP Director Dr. Stan Hailes and OCC have a longstanding partnership in exploring ways to maintain Barnegat Bay's health and ecosystems.
The bay's well-being affects New Jersey's tourism trade, business economy and ecological health. And, there's an extra benefit in the move - BBP staffers and a group of private citizens are creating a draft plan for public use of the land.
The site, called Brown's Woods, sits on more than 40 acres of - appropriately - preserved land on the Toms River and Long Swamp Creek.
Toms River Township obtained the tract through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Green Acres program.

Toms River Councilman Jeff Carr and Mayor Tom Kelaher at new Barnegat Bay Partnership complex (Barnegat Bay Partnership)

"We not only have more much-needed office space, but also the opportunity to expand our educational programs," said Hailes in a prepared statement. "The property's varied habitats including a sandy beach and marsh on the Toms River, freshwater wetlands and an upland forest are ideal for outdoor classroom experiences."

"As stewards of Barnegat Bay, Ocean County College has and will continue its ongoing efforts to preserve and protect this watershed," said OCC President Dr. Jon Larson.

Township Mayor Tom Kelaher added that their mutual goal is to preserve the bay "for future generaitons through conservation, education and research activities."