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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 4/29/98
98/56
CONTACT: Amy Collings or Loretta O'Donnell
609-984-1795 or 609-292-2994

OFFICIALS GATHER AT STONY BROOK-MILLSTONE WATERSHED PRESERVE TO ANNOUNCE FORMATION OF NEW CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS

State, local and academic interests in environmental preservation, monitoring and management all merged at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association Reserve where formation of a new environmental research center and a recent land acquisition were announced today.

The New Jersey Center for Environmental Indicators is a new joint venture of the Rutgers University/UMDNJ Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI), the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Rutgers' New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

Supported by a $50,000 DEP grant and in-kind contributions from Rutgers/UMDNJ, the center-without-walls will develop and analyze environmental trend data for New Jersey. These indicators will provide critical measures for New Jersey's new, results-based environmental management system. Under the umbrella of this center, a dozen indicator-related research studies are underway, involving DEP and multiple partners.

"This unique partnership with academic scientists will assist us in measuring the effectiveness of our efforts to improve the environment," said State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn. "As a primary participant in the creation of the National Environmental Performance Partnership System (NEPPS), New Jersey is benchmarking its progress in improving the environment. This new partnership with leading academic researchers will assist us in making and reporting those essential indicator measurements."

"We are delighted with this opportunity to broaden our research partnership with DEP," said EOHSI Director Dr. Bernard D. Goldstein. "This collaborative effort will enhance the scientific basis for measuring our progress toward realizing New Jersey's environmental goals."

The center also will further the use of environmental indicators in land use planning and the development of sustainable communities through a variety of research projects.

The announcement was made at the Stony Brook-Millstone reserve where volunteers conduct extensive water monitoring and where $261,470 in Green Acres funds contributed to the recent $1.2 million acquisition of 200 acres of open space.

The purchase will help preserve watershed lands and will be the centerpiece for a continuous greenway connecting Hopewell with Pennington and Mercer County Park. The lands will be used for environmental research, environmental education and passive recreation. The acquisition was made by the watershed association in cooperation with Mercer County.

"The Center for Environmental Indicators can be an invaluable tool for local governments as we plan future growth so as to sustain our diversity and protect environmentally sensitive areas," stated Mercer County Executive Robert D. Prunetti. "Through Green Acres and the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed, we will not only protect our watershed lands, but preserve a unique area for future generations."

The watershed association conducts a wide variety of environmental education programs focusing on water quality and educates citizens about the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

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