DEP AND ATLANTIC COUNTY SIGN WATERSHED PLAN CONTRACT
TO PROTECT GREAT EGG HARBOR RIVER AREA
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Shinn today
signed a contract with Atlantic County to develop a comprehensive management
plan for clean and plentiful water for the Great Egg Harbor River watershed
which covers parts of Atlantic, Camden, Cape May Cumberland and Gloucester
Atlantic County Freeholders received a $120,000 advance check today toward
the $400,000 for the two-year contract. Atlantic County, like the state’s
19 other watershed management areas, will receive a total of $600,000
through DEP's Division of Watershed Management to complete plans for their
area in four years.
The plan will cover the 627 square-mile watershed extending from Berlin
to the Great Egg Harbor Bay. The Great Egg Harbor River and its 17 tributaries,
totaling 129 miles, are designated as a national Scenic and Recreational
River. The watershed management area, known as Area 15, covers parts of
35 municipalities and also includes the Tuckahoe, South and Middle rivers,
the Patcong, Stephens, English, Lakes, Gibson, Cedar Swamp and Babcock
creeks, Penny Pot Stream, Deep Run, Mare Run, Miry Run and Gravelly Run
and the Big Bridge and Squankum branches
Governor Whitman, who initiated the statewide watershed management program,
said, "Water is one of our most fundamental and precious resources
and must not be taken for granted. Watershed management planning will
help to protect water quality in the Pinelands area and throughout New
Jersey for years to come."
An Area 15 Watershed Management Partnership Committee will be organized
consisting of local agencies, watershed associations and municipalities
and a larger committee consisting of citizens and established regional
groups from business, industry and environmental interests.
"Working together, we will produce a plan that will protect the
Great Egg Harbor watershed’s many valuable natural resources by identifying
strategies to reduce various sources of non-point source pollution. Experience
has shown that money for watershed planning is a wise investment in our
future, because clean water is no accident," said Shinn.
The executive committee will seek input from other local groups and interested
citizens in developing the plan at the partnership’s meetings. Task committees
will be formed for public outreach and other technical and support work.
Upon completion of a draft plan, DEP will seek formal public comment and
review prior to adoption.