AOCent is an ocean shellfish growing area that encompasses 31 miles of coastline from Beach Haven Terrace in the south to Bayhead in the north. This growing area then extends eastward from the coastal description above out into the Atlantic Ocean for three miles.
Urban coastal towns adjoin the shellfish growing waters of AOCent. Those towns are largely composed of residential homes. Although limited in number, commercial properties do exist. Populations within the coastal border of AOCent expand during the warmer months and decrease during the winter.
The southern half of coastal AOCent sits alongside the barrier island known as Long Beach Island or LBI. To the north of LBI, across Barnegat Inlet, is a substantial section of relatively undeveloped land belonging to Island Beach State Park. The remainder of the abutting coastal land mass for AOCent is a composition of numerous shore towns beginning with South Seaside Park and extending north to Bayhead.
The outfalls for Ocean County Utilities Authority’s southern, central, and northern water pollution control facilities’ wastewater treatment discharge pipes and outfalls are located in AOCent. Closed safety zones or Prohibited waters surround all OCUA outfalls. These Prohibited areas are necessary as per National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) requirements, and are maintained as buffers for effluent dilution.
Impact from stormwater runoff is limited in regard to this growing area's water quality and shellfish growing water classifications, as stormwater drainage is directed toward the bayside. Any waters having been impacted by stormwater runoff on the bayside have been significantly diluted upon reaching the ocean waters of AOCent via Barnegat Inlet.