DEP AWARDS $3.2 MILLION IN GRANTS TO AID
LOCAL WATER-QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
(08/30) TRENTON - In marking National Drinking Water Week, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced the award of $3.2 million in grants to various local groups and government entities that will fund projects to improve the health of New Jersey’s waterways.
“The surest path to clean and abundant drinking water is to protect and enhance supplies at the source,” Commissioner Jackson said. “Stormwater runoff is the biggest threat to surface waters, accounting for 60 percent of the pollution in our lakes, rivers and streams. These grants provide the financial resources local governments and nonprofits need to tackle this type of pollution and improve the overall ecological health of their watersheds.”
Each year, the nation’s water suppliers and environmental agencies observe National Drinking Water Week to draw attention to the importance of protecting and conserving drinking water supplies, a vital resource that is often taken for granted.
One of many ways the DEP is working to protect water supplies at the source is through a program that provides grants for local projects that mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff on lakes, rivers and streams.
Stormwater runoff contains nutrients, frequently from the application of lawn fertilizers or excessive animal droppings, and other pollutants that degrade water quality. When improperly controlled, stormwater runoff also exacerbates erosion that leads to excessive sedimentation in waterways.
Reducing these impacts decreases the complexities and costs of drinking-water treatment while improving the overall ecological health and aesthetic value of New Jersey’s waterways.
The grant program, funded by the federal government through a provision in the Clean Water Act, has resulted in important water-quality improvements, including significant reductions in the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen released to waterways.
In awarding individual grants, the DEP evaluates each project’s ability to achieve high levels of pollution reduction, its likelihood of sustaining success, and its cost-effectiveness.
The following is a list of grant recipients and projects:
- Lake Musconetcong Regional Planning Board: $45,000 for efforts to control weeds in 329-acre Lake Musconetcong at the headwaters of the Delaware River. Seasonal weed harvesting will be funded for three years.
- Pequannock River Coalition: $32,000 for hand removal of inactive beaver dams in the Pequannock River watershed through Hardyston and Vernon. By impeding the flow of water, the dams contribute to an overall rise in water temperature that degrades water quality in the Pequannock River.
- Great Swamp Watershed Committee: $209,140 for projects to restore and protect 200 feet of eroded shoreline along Loantaka Brook and Kitchell Pond in Kitchell Pond Park, part of the Morris County Park Commission’s Loantaka Brook Reservation. The project is upstream of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
- Monmouth County Planning Board: $1.08 million for implementation of projects to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff pollution in Ramanessin Brook. Projects include improvements to stormwater discharge pipes, stream bank restoration, and installation of a specialized stormwater-retention pond that filters pollutants.
- Camden County Soil Conservation District: $266,437 for a project to reduce sediments flowing into DeCou Run, a tributary of the Cooper River. The project involves stabilizing an eroding gully, creating a riparian wetland, and stabilizing an area cut by erosion downstream of the gully. A volunteer planting day involving residents of Cherry Hill as well as students and staff of Cherry Hill High School, located adjacent to the restoration site, will be held.
- Whippany River Watershed Action Committee: $553,975 for completion of studies characterizing sources of fecal coliform pollution in Morris County’s Whippany River watershed. The goal is to design and implement projects to reduce this pollution.
- Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority: $537,776 for completion and implementation of a watershed plan for about 15 miles of the Paulins Kill from headwater areas of Sparta and Andover townships to Paulins Kill at Balesville in Hampton Township. This watershed, part of the Upper Delaware River watershed, suffers from degraded water quality caused by development and farming.
- Rutgers University: $471,856 for projects to improve water quality in Morris County’s Troy Brook watershed, part of the Passaic River basin. Rutgers has completed a regional stormwater management plan. The current projects include converting a retention basin into a stormwater filtration basin and reducing the impacts of impervious surfaces.