The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) said the deadline for applications to its recently-launched $10 million public lakes management grants program will be extended to June 10.
“I encourage all local leaders and organizations in northeastern New Jersey and in the Delaware River Watershed to apply for this grant funding so we help enhance their natural resources and environmental infrastructure,” said NJDEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette.
The projects would be designed to mitigate stormwater and runoff pollution, improve recreation, or enhance conservation efforts at public lakes across the state.
GOP State Senators Prop Up Plan
New Jersey Senate Republicans applauded the extension when it was first announced in April.
“Moving forward on crucial projects to mitigate stormwater runoff and pollution will help preserve the health of our lakes, the safety of the waters, and the economic stability of businesses dependent on water-related tourism revenue,” said State Senate Republican Leader Steve Oroho (R-24) at the time.
“This is an investment in preventing algae blooms that have impacted Lake Hopatcong, Greenwood Lake and other waters in the state,” added State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-26), who had previously worked with Oroho and State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-25) to combat harmful algal blooms (HABs) at lakes in their districts.
“These DEP grants are a step toward mitigating the flow of polluted water into the lakes that contributes to the unchecked weed growth and dangerous algal blooms that have harmed the crucial summer seasons in recent years. This is an investment in the health of our lakes and the economies of our lake communities,” concluded Bucco.
‘Claws Back’ Funding
Rep. Josh Gottheimer touted the fact that he “clawed back” funding to fight HABs from the federal government as part of NJDEP’s plan. The funding was made possible through the American Rescue Plan.
“We’ve continued to sound the alarm, we’ve successfully pushed the state for targeted local investment, and now, with this new federal investment, we’re continuing our work to prevent another summer of algae that has wreaked havoc on our lakes, our businesses, our families, and our broader community,” he said.
The grant program will invest in projects to mitigate stormwater and runoff that can flow fertilizers and pollutants into lakes. Fertilizers can contribute to algae growth that is unhealthy for humans and the environment.
Eligible Participants and Projects
According to NJDEP, local governments, lake commissions, nonprofit organizations and other entities established specifically to manage publicly accessible waterbodies are eligible for funding and applications
Projects eligible for funding would address stormwater management, nonpoint source pollution and related infrastructure needs at public lakes, while maintaining, improving or enhancing recreation or conservation activities, including:
“Investments such as rain gardens or stormwater improvements to restore and protect natural resources in our watersheds help protect communities from damaging storms, reduce the impacts of climate change that are favorable to harmful algal blooms and improve water quality,” LaTourette said.