Press Release
Senator Mike Doherty Senator Mike Doherty (R-23)
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Contact: Erin Darreff / (609) 847-3600
October 24, 2019
Doherty Moves to Control Nuisance Gnats on the Delaware River

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Senator Mike Doherty introduced legislation today to ensure the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) annually budgets for black fly suppression on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.

Sen. Mike Doherty introduced legislation to ensure the NJDEP annually budgets for black fly suppression on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River. (

“Black flies are a terrible nuisance that plague the health and well-being of Hunterdon County residents, visitors, and small businesses alike,” said Doherty (R-23). “The State must step up and pay to spray the New Jersey side of the Delaware River to suppress the gnat population. Fighting back against black flies will improve the quality of life for Hunterdon County residents, and boost shopping and dining tourism along the scenic Delaware.”

Doherty’s bill would require the NJDEP to annually pay for the spraying for black flies, or gnats, in the riverfront marsh lands.

For the past few years, the State of New Jersey, in partnership with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), have shared the cost of aerial spraying to suppress the gnat population along the Delaware River.

In July, it became know that the State stopped contributing to the Black Fly Suppression Program. Without financial support from New Jersey, Pennsylvania could no longer manage and spray the New Jersey portion of the Delaware River.

Doherty wrote to NJDEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe requesting immediate funding for the program.

In August, the Hunterdon County Freeholder Board paid $10,500 to the PADEP to spray the New Jersey side for the insects.

“I commend our Hunterdon County Freeholders for taking the lead and funding black fly suppression while our State DEP looked the other way,” added Doherty. “This inaction is unacceptable of a state agency and must be rectified. The residents of New Jersey deserve what the residents of Pennsylvania have come to expect – an annual and dependable Black Fly Suppression Program.”

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