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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 10/27/00
128/00
CONTACT: Loretta O’Donnell or Amy Collings
609-984-1795 or 609-292-2994

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 counties.

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.

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