NJDEP Gives $1.1M To Local Governments For Urban Trees And Forests

By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern

SOUTH JERSEY – On International Day of Forests, March 21, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced the NJDEP is awarding twenty-three Urban and Community Forestry grants $1,106,934 to local governments and non-profit organizations to enhance the management of urban trees and forests.

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Urban and Community Forestry grant aims to establish and grow local, self-sustaining urban and community forestry programs. The grant works to contribute to the ongoing effort to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change through proper care and maintenance so trees can be healthy and live for many decades. 

“These grants will help improve the urban tree canopy throughout the state providing ecosystem services, reducing heat island effects and improving human health,” said Commissioner LaTourette. “Proper planning and management of trees and forests also mitigates storm water and other flooding, as well as air pollution.”. 

The funding for the 2022 grants comes from the “Treasure our Trees” state license plate sales and the New Jersey Forest Service’s No Net Loss Compensatory Reforestation Program. These funds may be used for various projects like community tree inventories, risk tree management, storm assessments, tree planting and establishment, and reforestation. 

Through a competitive awarding process, reforestation and tree planting grants totaling $598,216 are awarded to: 

Bergen County: Bogota ($40,000), Englewood ($66,830)

Burlington County: Moorestown ($8,000)

Hunterdon County: Clinton Town ($25,000)

Middlesex County: Highland Park ($150,000) and East Brunswick Township ($30,000)

Monmouth County: Interlaken Shade Tree Commission ($42,150)

Morris County: Pequannock Township Department of Public Works ($50,000)

Passaic County: Clifton ($49,026) 

Somerset County: Somerville ($137,210)

Through the same determination process, resilience planning grants totaling $508,718 are awarded to:

Bergen County: Ramsey ($20,000)

Camden County: Haddonfield Shade Tree Commission ($50,000)

Essex County: Caldwell ($11,258) and Essex County ($20,000)

Hunterdon County: Lambertville ($37,000) and Readington Township Environmental Commission ($50,000)

Mercer County: Trenton ($50,000) and Princeton ($50,000)

Morris County: Morris County Park Commission ($50,000)

Monmouth County: Long Branch ($50,000) and Millstone Township ($50,000)

Warren County: Lopatcong ($46,145) and Belvidere ($24,315)

Two hundred fifty-three municipalities and counties across New Jersey currently have management plans for trees and forests approved by the New Jersey Forest Service. Furthermore, one hundred fifty-two are fully accredited with the Urban and Community Forestry Program.

“A comprehensive local urban and community forestry program provides environmental, social and economic benefits,” said Todd Wyckoff, New Jersey State Forester.  

“Trees and forests are important to New Jerseyans on so many levels. Trees store carbon and reduce greenhouse gasses and energy use, which lessens the impacts of climate change and strengthens the resilience of towns and cities, said John Cecil, Assistant Commissioner for State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites. “It is a priority of the New Jersey Forest Service to not only plant trees in communities and urban areas, but to ensure their long-term survival through proper planning, care and management.”

The DEP intends to announce another round of grants later in 2023 aimed at urban and community tree inventory to help inform local management decisions moving forward. 

For more information on accreditation with the program from the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Program, visit https://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/forest/urbanandcommunity/

For more information on Urban and Community Forestry Stewardship grants and related programs, visit https://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/forest/urbanandcommunity/grants.html

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