FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2021
Lawrence Hajna(609) 984-1795
Caryn Shinske (609) 292-2994
(21/P013) TRENTON –To enhance ecosystems and water quality in the Paulins Kill and Pequest River watersheds of northwestern New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has awarded $7.3 million in grants to nonprofits and local government agencies Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette announced today.
The grants are funded through DEP’s Office of Natural Resource Restoration, which works with responsible parties to restore natural resources injured by oil spills and other discharges of hazardous substances. Natural Resource Damage (NRD) settlements obtained by DEP are routinely deployed to enhance natural resources such as wetlands, waterways, and habitats in compromised watersheds.
“New Jersey’s plentiful natural resources belong to all of the people of the Garden State, and when they are harmed, we owe it to the people to pursue those responsible and ensure that the resources can recover,” said Acting Commissioner LaTourette. “The Paulins Kill and Pequest River are regional treasures that support a great diversity of wildlife and are among New Jersey’s most important trout-production streams, and my DEP colleagues and I are excited to facilitate restoration projects that enhance ecological conditions for these two river systems that flow through the heart of the scenic Skylands.”
The DEP has awarded grants for the following projects:
“The Nature Conservancy is grateful for this grant program, which will fund three major projects to improve the freshwater connectivity and quality in the New Jersey’s Paulins Kill and Pequest rivers,” said Barbara Brummer, State Director of the New Jersey Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. “Removal of antiquated dams and restoration of headwaters are priorities for healthy ecosystems and will also improve recreational opportunities for New Jersey residents.”
“The Land Conservancy truly appreciates the support of the Office of Natural Resource Restoration for its planned restoration at Yards Creek Preserve in Blairstown. As members of William Penn’s Delaware River Watershed Initiative, restoration along the Paulinskill and its tributaries is of primary importance to us,” said Sandy Urgo, Vice President of Land Preservation and Stewardship at The Land Conservancy of New Jersey
“The Office of Natural Resource Restoration’s Paulins Kill and Pequest Grant Program is providing a tremendous opportunity for conservation organizations and local partners to work together to harness and strengthen existing momentum for restoration and stewardship initiatives throughout these two watersheds,” said Nathaniel Sajdak, Watershed Director for the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority -Wallkill River Watershed Management Group. “The grant that our organization will be receiving is going to help us implement water quality and habitat improvement projects on a retired golf course, while simultaneously enabling us to engage the local Culver Lake community in hands-on educational efforts to do so."
Remediating contaminated sites and restoring damaged natural resource is a key priority of the Murphy Administration. The DEP’s Office of Natural Resource Restoration works with responsible parties who wish to voluntarily assess natural resource damages, undertake restoration projects, or settle their natural resource damage liability. Where necessary, DEP works with the Office of the Attorney General to pursue Natural Resource Damage claims through the courts. These settlements, which are in addition to the costs of cleaning up a pollution event, help DEP to facilitate many different types of ecological restoration projects throughout the state. For more information, visit www.nj.gov/dep/nrr/
DEP PHOTO/Paulins Kill flowing through Sussex County