New Jersey Shade Tree and Community Forestry Assistance Act
Why was the New Jersey Shade Tree and Community Forestry Assistance Act passed?
In response to municipalities and counties disbanding their Shade Tree Commissions in the late 1990’s due to fear of litigation as a result of hazardous tree situations, the New Jersey Shade Tree and Community Forestry Assistance Act was passed on December 5, 1996. By providing liability protection to participating municipalities and counties, the Act has ensured that Shade Tree Commissions are in place to provide more livable communities through the care and management of trees throughout New Jersey.
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What does the Act provide?
- Liability Protection - The Act enables a community to eliminate tree related liability if they satisfy the four requirements for Approved Status under the Act. This includes writing a State approved Community Forestry Management Plan and participating in the State’s Training Skills and Accreditation program.
- Council - The State’s Community Forestry Council is comprised of 20 volunteers representing many groups involved with community forestry: arborists, tree growers, municipal/county governments, insurance companies, electric companies, etc. to advise the State Forester on community forestry issues.
- Grants – The Green Communities Grant helps a municipality or county hire a forestry consultant to assist them in writing a Community Forestry Management Plan. Then the Community Stewardship Incentive Program (CSIP) Grant is offered to communities who have Approved Status under the Act to implement goals and objectives directly from their management plan. The "Treasure Our Trees" license plates fund these grants.
How can I help my community?
- Download the guidelines for the Community Forestry Assistance Act*, request information on CORE Training and Continuing Education Unit requirements, write a Community Forestry Management Plan, and submit the required brief Annual Accomplishment Report.
- Request information on the upcoming grants available to communities that need to write a Community Forestry Management Plan and care for their trees.
- Contact the Motor Vehicles Commission and get the "Treasure Our Trees" license plates for all your passenger and commercial vehicles. Proceeds from these plates help to assure funding for future grant opportunities in your community.