15 New Jersey municipalities receive funding to reforest and restore their floodplains to enhance climate resilience & wildlife habitat

On February 5, 2020, Sustainable Jersey announced that over $50,000 had been awarded to 15 New Jersey municipalities for floodplain reforestation projects.

The Roots for Rivers Reforestation Grant and Technical Assistance Program is a partnership among The Nature Conservancy, The Watershed Institute and Sustainable Jersey. To date, Roots for Rivers funded proposals include over 92,000 trees to restore New Jersey floodplains.

Michelle DiBlasio, the Watershed Restoration Coordinator for the New Jersey Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, said, “Throughout much of the state, our floodplains have been deforested and left without trees to help filter water, absorb flooding or cool the river for fish. One important way to help ensure we can continue to rely upon our precious natural water resources is to restore New Jersey’s floodplains—the critical land near our rivers’ banks.

For the past five years, The Nature Conservancy has worked with local, state and federal partners in northwestern New Jersey to reforest the floodplains of a key tributary to the Delaware River, the Paulins Kill. Through the Roots for Rivers reforestation program, we have been able to catalyze these restoration efforts state-wide and help communities protect their local waterways for future generations,” she added.

The 15 grant recipients are Oakland Borough (Bergen), Glen Rock Borough (Bergen), Maple Shade Township (Burlington), Belleville Township (Essex), South Orange Village Township (Essex), Kingwood Township (Hunterdon), Readington Township/Bloys Farm (Hunterdon), Readington Township/Holland Brook (Hunterdon), Highland Park Borough (Middlesex), Woodbridge Township (Middlesex), Howell Township (Monmouth), Mantoloking Borough (Ocean), Passaic City (Passaic), Manville Borough (Somerset) and Summit City (Union).

These communities will receive funding to cover the costs of tree saplings and protection. The trees will be planted by local volunteers.

To help The Nature Conservancy reach its goal of planting 100,000 trees by 2020, a second application period was opened (until March 2, 2020) for the 2020 Roots for Rivers Reforestation and Technical Assistance Program.

Planting trees in places where the floodplains have been degraded will protect the lands and waters on which the people of New Jersey depend.

This funding is exactly what we need to manage flood waters and save endangered fish and wildlife,” explained Randall Solomon, executive director of Sustainable Jersey.

Besides flood and drought protection, floodplains can prevent erosion, improve soil formation, purify water replenishing groundwater reservoirs and support the conservation of habitats and species. Sustainable Jersey values our partnership with The Nature Conservancy and applauds the municipalities for doing the hard work at the local level,” he concluded.

Photo of Third Ward Memorial Park in Passaic City, New Jersey is by Shaunpassaic via Wikipedia.

See Sustainable Jersey website.

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