On July 18, 2022, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection awarded $9.4 million in grants to local government agencies, nonprofit groups, universities and others to fund projects that will restore water quality and reduce the impacts of nonpoint source pollution from stormwater.
n many cases, the projects boost climate resilience by mitigating local flooding problems, which are increasing due to more-frequent and more-severe storms resulting from the climate crisis.
More than $5 million in grants have been awarded to projects in the Delaware River watershed and in the urbanized northeast region, target areas for the program under the DEP’s system that rotates the state’s five water regions for the development of measures to restore, maintain and enhance water quality.
“These grants will help a diverse group of DEP partners implement projects – many of them deploying green infrastructure technologies – that will reduce the many harmful effects of stormwater that are increasing due to climate change,” said Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “We are excited to facilitate projects that will improve environmental protection, safety and quality of life in our communities, and address local flooding.”
Funding for these projects has been provided through Section 319(h) of the federal Clean Water Act, Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration funds, and the New Jersey Corporation Business Tax.
The projects will help reduce the impacts of nonpoint source pollution, which is caused by stormwater runoff that carries a wide variety of pollutants into waterways, including nutrients from fertilizers, animal wastes and improperly operating septic systems.
The DEP has awarded the following grants to:
- South Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council, $200,414, to develop a Watershed Restoration and Protection Plan for the Chestnut Branch Watershed to address water quality impairments.
- South Jersey Land and Water Trust, $180,196, to develop a Watershed Restoration and Protection Plan for the Oldman’s Creek and Raccoon Creek watersheds, listed as priority waterways by the DEP due to impairments.
- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, $467,872, to develop a Watershed Restoration and Protection Plan for the Rancocas Creek watershed that identifies opportunities to reduce pollutant loading to the waterway and reduce localized flooding.
- Greater Culver Lake Watershed Conservation Foundation, $137,025, to implement a project to significantly decrease septic-related phosphorus loading using easy to install, operate, and maintain septic system modification technology.
- City of Newark, $286,400, to build upon the momentum of past projects reducing the occurrence of harmful algal blooms through the continued use of ultrasonic equipment. Additional data will be collected to paint a comprehensive picture of the source of bloom outbreaks. The ultrasonic control system, that was installed with assistance from the DEP, has been effective in maintaining low levels of toxins associated with outbreaks.
- Western Monmouth Utilities Authority, $300,000, to implement a study on Duhernal Lake, in need of the setting of a Total Maximum Daily Load for phosphorous to attain compliance with surface water quality standards. This project will evaluate measures to reduce nonpoint and point source pollution in the lake’s watershed.
- North Jersey RC&D Area, Inc., $490,983, to implement the approved Musconetcong River Watershed Protection Plan: Hampton to Bloomsbury and the approved Alexauken Creek Watershed Protection Plan. Specifically, the AgAssist and the EQIP-Assist Programs will be implemented for areas with E. coli and phosphorus impairments which will result in water quality improvements.
- Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority, $609,434, to install riparian forest buffers along Papakating Creek, enhance riparian forest buffers along Clove Brook, and install green infrastructure in Sussex Borough to reduce nonpoint source pollution. These measures are found within the approved Clove Brook Watershed Restoration Plan and the Papakating Creek Watershed Restoration Plan.
- Pemberton Township, $192,310, will install a natural bank stabilization mechanism that promotes vegetative growth. The affected stream is a headwater of the North Branch of the Rancocas Creek. This project will improve downstream water quality, encourage the growth of native species and lead to improvements in water quality within an Overburdened Community.
- Burlington County Health Department, $300,000, to develop and implement a stormwater management and watershed plan for green infrastructure best management practices that will control runoff from impervious surfaces, restore stream banks, and install retention basin retrofits in the Smithville Lake watershed and the North Branch of the Rancocas Creek in Eastampton.
- The Watershed Institute, $300,000, to produce a comprehensive condition assessment of New Jersey’s waterways. This will be achieved by harnessing the existing power of community water monitoring organizations and fostering new ones to produce water quality data of known and sufficient quality.
- Hackensack River Keeper, $90,000, to continue the Urban Watershed Education Program at locations in the Newark Bay Complex, which includes the Hackensack River, Newark Bay, Arthur Kill, and Hudson River. This watershed education program is targeted to middle school students and cover a broad range of topics such as nonpoint source pollution, climate change, combined sewer overflow infrastructure, water quality testing, legacy pollutants, fish consumption advisories, fish anatomy, casting techniques, and fishing etiquette.
- Camden Community Partnership, $1,506,131, to design and construct a series of bioretention basins along the Harrison Avenue-State Street corridor, improving water quality in the Cooper River through removal of total suspended solids and nutrients.
- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, $1,165,898, to install green infrastructure through the Fairmount Avenue Green Streets project, providing hands-on training opportunities for the certified graduates of the Newark Green Works Program while implementing projects and educating community leaders, young people, and residents about the benefits and opportunities for green infrastructure projects.
- City of Jersey City, $770,724, to expand the city’s green infrastructure initiative by partnering with Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program to implement two shovel-ready green infrastructure projects including tree trenches and curb extensions along MLK Drive and Bramhall Street. Jersey City is considered an Overburdened community under the New Jersey Environmental Justice Law.
- The Nature Conservancy, $354,893, to implement a community-based green infrastructure initiative in the City of Paterson. This initiative will result in stormwater management features that will reduce the frequency of combined sewer overflows, sewer backups into private properties, nuisance flooding, as well as decrease the surcharging of sanitary sewers in the city.
- Town of Secaucus, $154,600, to implement the installation of rain gardens on Centre Avenue, near the Town Hall Annex and other municipal buildings. The proposed project will deploy green infrastructure design strategies to reduce stormwater flooding and the amount of nonpoint source pollution impacting the Hackensack River. Once complete, the rain gardens will increase the town’s capacity to capture stormwater.
- City of Hoboken, $562,060, to implement the construction of green/gray tanks to improve stormwater management efforts and delay stormwater discharge to Hoboken’s combined sewer system. This will result in fewer combined sewer overflows and reduced nonpoint source pollution in the Hudson River.
- City of Trenton, $562,060, to install green infrastructure through strategic integration of trees and increased pervious surfacing. This project will provide a green aspect to the downtown area and will capture and filter stormwater. The green infrastructure will provide a wealth of other benefits, such as increased water conservation and reuse, creation of wildlife habitat, increased plant diversity, expanded open green space, improved air quality, and reduction of the heat-island effect.
- NY/NJ Baykeeper, $220,000, to expand the implementation of Phase 2 of the Naval Weapons Station Earle Living Shoreline Project, which is working to reduce the impacts of climate change and promote climate resilience. Funds will be used to continue stabilizing the Raritan Bay and Ware Creek shorelines, increase biodiversity with additional bottom habitat, and measure increased biodiversity of associated marine species.
- Barnegat Bay Partnership/Ocean County College, $300,000, to improve littoral habitat and increase climate change resilience of a public open space parcel in an overburdened community through the replacement of a hardened shoreline with a living shoreline. A secondary goal is to increase public awareness of the benefits of living shorelines for climate change resilience.
- New Jersey Department of Agriculture, $399,024.90, to implement Animal Waste Management Plans (AWMP) for livestock farms within 100 feet of a water body. This project will result in improved water quality and a reduction of livestock impacts to the study watershed through AWMP outreach and development, best management practices, and best management practices at the DeGroot Dairy Farm.
Photos courtesy of NJDEP.