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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2004

Contact: Elaine Makatura
(609) 984-1795

DEP HONORS ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS AND INNOVATORS

Excellence Awards Recognize Significant Environmental Achievements in New Jersey

(04/131) ATLANTIC CITY - New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell will honor environmental leaders at a ceremony this evening, handing out the annual Environmental Excellence Awards to winners in nine categories. The awards recognize individuals, businesses, and communities who have made significant contributions to environmental protection in New Jersey.

"These awards recognize the leaders in New Jersey's towns, companies, authorities, and military bases who are achieving superior environmental performance," said Campbell. "These leaders are setting the standard for innovation and commitment, while reminding us that the best ideas in environmental protection emerge from local problem solving rather than traditional regulation."

Once again, DEP received a record number of nominations, with winners judged on the basis of the documented environmental benefits, innovation, and long-term impact of their work to the environment. This year, DEP added a ninth category for awards that recognizes achievement in Environmental Education. In addition, DEP received nominations in eight other categories: Clean Air, Clean and Plentiful Water, Safe and Healthy Communities, Open Space Protection and Preservation, Healthy Ecosystems, Innovative Technology, Environmental Stewardship and Environmental Leadership.

This is the fifth year the awards - co-sponsored by DEP, the New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology (NJCAT), and the NJ League of Municipalities - have been bestowed on state environmental leaders. Last year's winners included the Naval Air Engineering Station at Lakehurst, Hackensack Riverkeeper, Chesterfield Township, and James Shissias.

NJCAT is a public-private partnership that pools the resources of business and industry, entrepreneurs, university research centers, utilities and government to promote New Jersey's emerging environmental technologies.

Below is a list of this year's winners and honorable mentions:

Clean Air Winner - Mannington Mills, Inc.
Mannington Mills produces residential and commercial flooring products at their corporate headquarters located in Mannington Township in Salem County. This award recognizes Mannington for implementing a number of clean air initiatives at their facility including switching from solvent-based to water-based inks. In addition to decreasing and eliminating air emissions for a number of compounds, their efforts have also resulted in significant energy savings each year.

Clean and Plentiful Water Winner - Sourlands Planning Council
The Sourlands Planning Council is a nonprofit, volunteer organization dedicated to preservation and conservation issues in the Sourlands Mountain region in the central New Jersey counties of Hunterdon, Mercer and Somerset. This award recognizes the Council for their comprehensive efforts to improve this region's water quality and quantity. Efforts include advocating and promoting municipal rezoning and resource protective ordinances as well as developing a comprehensive management plan designed to preserve natural and cultural resources and to encourage consistent smart growth land-use strategies.

Clean and Plentiful Water Honorable Mention - Atlantic County Utilities Authority
The Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) operates a 40-million gallon per day wastewater treatment plant in Atlantic City, a regional sewerage collection system serving 14 municipalities in Atlantic County, and a solid waste management system that includes a landfill, transfer station, recycling center, and composting facility at the 350-acre Haneman Environmental Park in Egg Harbor. This honorable mention recognizes the ACUA for, among other things, its efforts in wastewater treatment, wastewater recycling, promoting water conservation, household hazardous waste collection, and sponsorship of Americorps Volunteers.

Clean and Plentiful Water Honorable Mention - Southeast Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority
The Southeast Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (SMCMUA) is a regional water authority formed in 1977 with four member municipalities: Morristown, Morris Township, Morris Plains and Hanover Township. SMCMUA provides water service to member municipalities and portions of several surrounding communities serving approximately 17,500 customers representing a population of over 65,000 plus a large commercial and industrial base. This honorable mention recognizes SMCMUA's project to construct a state-of-the-art membrane water filtration plant with a 2.5 million gallons per day capacity at the Clyde Potts Reservoir to ensure provision of high quality drinking water to their customers.

Clean and Plentiful Water Honorable Mention - Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc.
Janssen Pharmaceutica, located in Titusville, Mercer County, received an honorable mention award for several initiatives related to watershed protection that have yielded environmental benefits in improving water quality over the past year. Janssen's wide-ranging program includes innovative stormwater management techniques, use of environmentally sensitive fertilizers and pest controls, establishment of no-mow and no-spray zones around all water bodies, construction of a solar powered aeration system to minimize algae growth at an on-site pond, and a cooling condensate recycling program that saves approximately 400,000 gallons of water annually. Other beneficial activities include establishing a natural buffer around their fence-line consisting of native grasses and trees, and the construction of a number of bluebird and bat houses.

Clean and Plentiful Water Honorable Mention - North Jersey Resource Conservation & Development Council and Hunterdon County Planning Board
The North Jersey Resource Conservation & Development Council is a regional nonprofit organization dedicated to helping communities with the wise use and management of their human and natural resources. The Hunterdon County Planning Board has led many successful collaborative planning and technical assessment programs with municipalities and has long recognized the need for providing communities with useful tools to deal with growth issues. Together these agencies are awarded with an honorable mention for their joint effort in producing a handbook on woodland conservation entitled "Building Greener Communities - Planning for Woodland Conservation." Among other benefits, healthy woodlands are essential to maintaining continued clean and plentiful ground and surface water supplies.

Environmental Education Winner - Hillside School Environmental Leaders and Protectors
Hillside School Environmental Leaders and Protectors (HELP), a 100-member environmental club comprised of fourth and fifth graders, received this year's Environmental Education award for a student activity. These students of the Hillside Intermediate School located in Bridgewater performed a number of tasks related to habitat loss and wildlife populations. Among these were transformation of six acres of school property into a nature preserve. Other projects included reforestation, establishing a wildlife meadow, a freshwater marsh and hosting an annual Forest Fest environmental festival.

Environmental Education Honorable Mention - Washington Township Environmental Commission
Washington Township Environmental Commission, located in Gloucester County, received an honorable mention award for its continued efforts directed toward public education and public involvement. Particularly notable is the Washington Township Earth Day Celebration. This annual event has evolved into a community celebration for over 3,000 people in Washington Lake Park. The Washington Township Environmental Commission has also received and completed more than six DEP environmental service grants.

Healthy Ecosystems Winner - NJ Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership
The NJ Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP), formed in 2003, is an innovative public/private partnership between government agencies, business, community groups, conservation organizations, and academia to protect, enhance and restore important coastal habitats. This year the organization is honored for their part in projects resulting in the construction of a fish ladder at Batsto Village and an innovative oil spill protection project whereby anchors for rapid deployment of booms are installed on pilings at the mouth of tributaries in ecologically sensitive waterways. CWRP has also contributed toward continued research of Delaware Bay shorebird and horseshoe crab populations.

Healthy Ecosystems Honorable Mention - Pine Hill Scout Reservation
The Pine Hill Scout Reservation of the Southern New Jersey Council, Boy Scouts of America, are recognized with an honorable mention award for their comprehensive conservation plan to protect, restore and enhance the ecosystems present on the camp's 225 acres located in a Pinelands area of Camden County. Specific projects undertaken by the scouts included vernal pool and habitat restoration, erosion prevention, invasive species removal and habitat enhancement. The Pine Hill Scout Reservation's efforts have resulted in substantial environmental improvements to its section of the Pinelands ecosystem of New Jersey.

Healthy Ecosystems Honorable Mention - Franklin Township
Franklin Township, located in southeastern Somerset County, is recognized with an honorable mention for its open space planning efforts. The Township's Open Space Plan promotes preservation of natural habitats and provides opportunities for recreation. Together with other non-profit organizations, Franklin Township has created an open space network that includes 3,000 acres of Six Mile Run, 22 miles of the Delaware & Raritan Canal, forest preserves, large tracts of agricultural land and a well-developed park system. Presently, almost one-third of the acreage in Franklin Township is open space.

Innovative Technology Winner - Township of Burlington
In response to a surge of residential and commercial development during the 1990's, the Township of Burlington decided to expand and upgrade their original Central Avenue Wastewater Treatment Facility. Using a New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust/New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection low-interest loan for the construction of the project, the new expanded and upgraded facility was dedicated on October 21, 2000. In addition to preventing pollution by discharging a cleaner effluent, other environmental benefits of this facility include resource and energy conservation. This award recognizes the Township of Burlington's innovative wastewater treatment facility.

Open Space Protection and Preservation Winner (tie) - Delaware and Raritan Greenway
The Delaware and Raritan Greenway is being honored for being a model in the open space protection movement in New Jersey. For the last 15 years, Delaware and Raritan Greenway's efforts have resulted in the protection of thousands of acres in central New Jersey. In conjunction with the DEP Green Acres Program, Delaware and Raritan Greenway's work led to protection of 1,190 acres of mature forests and perched wetlands in the Sourlands region, in the last d in Atlantic City, a ryear alone, which will provide for critical wildlife habitat and water resource protection.

Open Space Protection and Preservation Winner (tie) - New Jersey Meadowlands Commission
The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission is honored for its open space work involving development and adoption of a master plan presenting a multifaceted approach to smart growth and sustainability for the Hackensack Meadowlands District. The 30-square mile Meadowlands District is located approximately five miles west of New York City and encompasses portions of fourteen municipalities. One of the features of the Master Plan is the preservation of 8,400 acres of wetlands in this heavily urbanized area. Other smart growth efforts are designed to enhance the quality of life throughout the Meadowlands for generations to come.

Open Space Protection and Preservation Honorable Mention - Township of Mount Olive
The Township of Mount Olive in Morris County received an honorable mention for demonstrating commitment to the preservation of open space in protecting 600 acres of open space in the heart of New Jersey's Highlands region. This project required coordinating five funding partners including the Trust for Public Land, Morris County, DEP Green Acres Program, Forest Legacy and the U.S. Department of the Interior over a four-year period and serves as an example for other towns to follow. In addition, during the last eight years, Mount Olive has protected over 1,300 acres of municipal open space.

Safe and Healthy Communities Winner - United States Postal Service
On October 18, 2001, the Hamilton Postal facility was closed due to the first case of anthrax bio-terrorism in this country. The United States Postal Service is receiving this award in recognition of the recently completed anthrax cleanup at the Hamilton Postal facility in Mercer County. Through the Postal Service's hard work and leadership, the largest anthrax decontamination in United States history was completed safely and efficiently. This unique challenge resulted in the development of innovative cleanup strategies with far reaching implications in public health and emergency response and planning.

Safe and Healthy Communities Honorable Mention - K. Hovnanian Homes
In February 2001, K. Hovnanian Homes purchased from the City of North Wildwood a 20-acre tract that included a landfill abandoned 30 years previously. K. Hovnanian Homes is receiving an honorable mention for its efforts to close properly the landfill, thereby providing protection to the surrounding environment and allowing for the construction of a number of garden homes on approximately 20 percent of the site. The remainder of the property is open space consisting of landscaped areas, wetlands, wetland buffers and an avian preserve.

Environmental Leadership Winner - Lucy S. Bottomley
Until her recent retirement, Lucy Bottomley was the inspirational leader of the Navy Lakehurst Environmental Program. For over 25 years, Lucy Bottomley, dedicated her career to improving the environment in the areas of potable water and air compliance, recycling, waste water and hazardous waste management. In addition, she was responsible for initiating partnerships with several local schools that resulted in a number of novel science programs for students. Her unwavering dedication to protection of the environment while supporting the Navy mission, have contributed to this recognition for her many accomplishments.

Environmental Stewardship Winner - Alice Hemphill
Alice Hemphill, Chairwoman of the Manasquan Environmental Commission since 1990, is recognized as this year's recipient of the Environmental Stewardship award for her tireless efforts as an environmental advocate and for preserving land and protecting Manasquan's natural resources. Among her accomplishments are land, waterway and beach cleanups, promoting recycling efforts, initiating environmental educatd in Atlantic City, a rional programs, water quality monitoring, and implementation of a stream restoration project. She was also instrumental in spearheading the drive to save Fisherman's Cove that ultimately resulted in the establishment of a new Monmouth County park.

 

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