DEP Announces $1 Million Urban Airshed Reforestation Project
From Conectiv Enforcement Settlement
(02/111) Trenton, NJ --- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announces $1 million for an Urban Airshed Reforestation Project for parts of southern New Jersey, including the city of Camden. The DEP launched this initiative with a neighborhood tree-planting event in the Cooper Lanning neighborhood in Camden.
"Today's ceremony underscores DEP's commitment to providing all communities with clean and healthy environments," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "This urban reforestation project is one of many DEP actions to improve the environment and quality of life in Camden and all our urban centers."
In May 2002, DEP reached an enforcement settlement with Atlantic City Electric Co. and Conectiv Atlantic Generation, Inc. (Conectiv), which required the company to reduce smog-forming pollution from its generating stations and pay $2 million in penalties to the state. Half, $1 million, of this settlement must be used for urban reforestation projects in the affected areas.
"Our enforcement settlement with Conectiv not only ensures direct pollution reductions at six power plants in southern New Jersey, it gives something back to affected communities," said Campbell.
DEP's Urban Airshed Reforestation Project is designed to reduce air and water pollution in South Jersey t hrough tree-planting efforts of numerous volunteer organizations. The New Jersey Tree Foundation, Inc will lead this cooperative effort under a Memorandum of Agreement with DEP. The Foundation received the $1 million portion from the Conectiv settlement that must be used for the urban tree-planting projects.
An army of volunteers commemorating "Make a Difference Day," a nationally recognized volunteer day, will plant rows and rows of Sawtooth Oak, Cumulus Serviceberry and Winter King Green Hawthorn in four city blocks. These species of trees were carefully selected for their known endurance and survival in urban settings.
Commissioner Campbell added, "The trees we plant today will improve the local landscape and, over time, create a beautiful green canopy over Camden."
Trees provide numerous environmental benefits to cities. Their leaves help improve air quality by absorbing noxious gases and trapping particulate matter from the air. Trees also help filter and clean water supplies, reduce water runoff, flooding, erosion and storm water management costs.
Temperatures in urban settings are often five degrees above surrounding suburbs and rural areas, which is referred to as the 'urban heat island' effect, and trees can help lower these urban temperatures by as much as six to nineteen degrees.
Trees reduce noise pollution by absorbing sounds and, in the winter, offer protection from winter winds and blowing snow. Trees make towns more attractive to business and tourism, transforming a neighborhood's appearance and increasing home market value, as they bring nature closer to where we live and work.
The following companies and organizations have donated their products, time and services to the Urban Airshed Reforestation Project: city of Camden, Camden Department of Public Works, Conectiv, Cooper Lanning Civic Association, Center For Family Services, Commerce Bank, Habitat For Humanity, New Jersey Community Forestry Council, New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Tree Foundation, Rutgers WaterWatch, South Jersey Agricultural Products and Volunteers of America.