DEP Offers Federal Funds to Support Forest Stewardship in the Highlands
(07/43) TRENTON - Working to encourage sound forest stewardship, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced that $85,000 in federal funding is available to private forestland owners in the New Jersey Highlands.
“Forest cover dominates more than half of the Highlands, and this funding will provide the resources and the incentive private landowners need to become better stewards of these exceptional natural resources,” Commissioner Jackson said.
With funding from the U.S. Forest Service, the New Jersey Forest Service will reimburse a qualifying landowner up to $3,000 to develop a forest stewardship plan for their property.
Private landowners with 10 or more acres of woodlands in the Highlands are encouraged to apply. Applications are due by Jan. 1, 2008.
The Forest Stewardship grant program encourages management of private forestland for non-commodity benefits, such as wildlife habitat, recreational value and water quality, as well as traditional commodities such as timber and wood products.
Applicants who receive funding are required to maintain and implement their forest stewardship plans for a 10-year period.
New Jersey's forestlands cover 2.1 million acres, of which 62 percent is owned and managed by private individuals and enterprises.
The New Jersey Highlands, a 1,250-square-mile area in the northwestern portion of the state, is renowned for its contiguous forests, wetlands, pristine watersheds and plant and wildlife species habitat. The region produces one-third of the Garden State’s potable water and provides drinking water to more than 60 percent of New Jersey’s residents. Surface and groundwater sources in the Highlands supply water to 16 counties and 292 municipalities.
To request a grant application, call the New Jersey Forest Service Northern Regional Office at (973) 786-5035 or the Trenton Office at (609) 292-2531.