State launches grant program to help improve water quality of NJ lakes
To kick off Earth Week in New Jersey, the Murphy administration and the state Department of Environmental Protection have announced the launch of a $10 million public lakes grants program to improve water quality and enhance environmental infrastructure in New Jersey.
State DEP spokeswoman Caryn Shinske said this is money made possible with funds under the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
This is money that communities and organizations can use to improve things like stormwater and runoff pollution, recreation, or conservation initiatives at public lakes throughout New Jersey.
DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette has encouraged local leaders and organizations, especially in northeastern New Jersey and in the Delaware River Watershed to apply for grant funding.
Shinske said the projects to mitigate stormwater runoff and enhance natural resources are important because stormwater runoff can endanger the water quality of lakes.
"We've seen the proliferation of harmful algal blooms, climate change overall is increasing, and stormwater runoff carries things like excessive nutrients that tend to impact water temperatures, harm marine ecosystems, and contribute to these harmful algal blooms," Shinske said.
When all this happens, this harms the opportunity for water recreational activities, and lake conservation, and when there are communities that are dependent on tourism in and around lake communities, that can impact critical summer revenue, Shinske said.
"So using this money to take steps to mitigate stormwater runoff, to enhance environmental infrastructure can go a long way to improving, not just infrastructure, but tourism economy in areas where there are lots of public lakes and public water bodies," she said.
Organizations and communities that are interested in applying for a share of this $10 million pot have until May 28 to submit funding applications and project proposals to the DEP's Water Quality Restoration Grants Program.
They can call the DEP Bureau of Watershed Management Restoration Unit at 609-984-0921 or submit proposals at https://njdepsage.intelligrants.com.
View the Request for Proposal, including requirements for proposal submissions here.
Shinske said the announcement about the funding was made on Monday, which was the kickoff to Earth Week in New Jersey. This is important because the global theme for Earth Week this year is, "Invest in Our Planet."
She said $10 million to enhance environmental infrastructure at New Jersey public lakes is a great way to start Earth Week. Residents are encouraged to celebrate New Jersey's environment and keep it going for future generations.
Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at email@example.com
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