The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation (S-2248) sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors that would appropriate $45 million from the “2009 Green Acres Fund” and $12 million from the “2009 Blue Acres Fund” for recreation and conservation purposes. Under the legislation, which is also supported by Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove, $3 million would be appropriated for the Barnegat Bay Watershed Greenway.
Following the Senate’s passage of S-2248, the 9th District Delegation issued the following statement:
“This legislation calls for Green Acres funding to be appropriated to the DEP for acquisition of lands, including in the Barnegat Bay Watershed Greenway, which are to be protected as open space. Lands in the Barnegat Bay watershed that would be purchased are specific to municipalities identified in the legislation, which include the 9th Legislative District constituent municipalities of Barnegat, Berkeley, Eagleswood, Lacey, Little Egg Harbor, Ocean and Stafford.
“To the best extent possible, the DEP usually attempts to purchase lands which are adjacent to state holdings so that the protected lands are not scattered throughout the area, but this cannot always be the case. All projects listed under the legislation have been approved by the DEP and the Garden State Preservation Trust. Current law requires the Green Acres program to purchase property from willing sellers only.
“Barnegat Bay, which is home to a diversified array of wildlife, is the most widely used recreational resource in New Jersey. Therefore it’s absolutely critical that protecting the Bay remain among the state’s top environmental priorities as it has under the Christie Administration.
“Over the years, our Delegation has been proud to work in a bipartisan fashion to put in place measures that will protect the Barnegat Bay over the short and long term. This includes cosponsoring the law that established the strictest-in-the-nation standards to control the amount and content of fertilizer applied to lawns to reduce the amount of nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorous that, ultimately, end up in waters like Barnegat Bay. Additionally, we cosponsored the law to update statewide soil erosion and sediment control standards allowing soils to more effectively absorb and control stormwater runoff.”
The other municipalities identified in the legislation specific to the Barnegat Bay Watershed Greenway are Brick, Jackson, Lakewood and Toms River in Ocean County as well as Freehold and Howell Townships in Monmouth County.
During the voting session, the Senate also passed two additional open space preservation measures which the 9th District Delegation also support. S-2246 would appropriate $55 million from the “2009 Green Acres Fund” to the DEP to provide grants or low-interest loans, or both, to assist local government units in the State to acquire or develop lands for recreation and conservation purposes. S-2247 would appropriate $8,930,975. from the “2009 Green Acres Fund” to provide grants to various nonprofit entities to acquire or develop lands for recreation and conservation purposes. Both S-2246 and S-2247 would provide funding for the acquisition and preservation of land in municipalities throughout the 9th Legislative District.