Murphy administration awards $1.3 million in urban and community forestry grants to enhance tree stewardship across New Jersey.
The Department of Environmental Protection awarded 38 grants totaling $1.3 million to promote the stewardship of urban and community trees and forests throughout New Jersey, Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced on March 21, 2022.
The announcement was made on the International Day of Forests, created by the United Nations General Assembly 10 years ago to celebrate and raise awareness about the importance of all types of forests.
The grants support statewide environmental justice initiatives in vulnerable neighborhoods, with 75% of the funds awarded to municipalities with at least one overburdened community.
This funding aims to help combat climate change and support these overburdened communities through reforestation efforts and resilience planning grants.
“Urban trees and forests are vitally important for the many benefits they provide to clean our air and water, and to provide cool shade from increasingly warm temperatures,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “Trees are also part of our daily lives. They uplift people, beautify neighborhoods, stand witness to important moments and improve communities.”
Funding for this environmental initiative comes from the “Treasure Our Trees” state license plate sales and the New Jersey Forest No Net Loss Compensatory Reforestation Program.
“Advancing tree equity in New Jersey’s overburdened communities gives us the opportunity to address the three pillars of thriving communities: social, environmental and economic vitality,” said Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Justice and Equity Olivia Glenn. “From greenhouse gases to urban heat island effect, lack of tree canopy can compromise social, environmental and economic quality of life for some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents.”
Resilience planning grants help communities assess their current urban forest and provide critical data about the forest’s structure and composition.
This data is then used to better inform forest management decisions to maximize ecological benefits and create sustainable urban forests.
Resiliency planning grants totaling $925,374 are awarded to:
Bergen County: Closter, $30,000; Dumont, $34,100; Maywood, $32,000; Oakland, $21,797; Oradell, $25,700; Rutherford, $50,000; Garfield, $49,200; Glen Rock, $35,500
Burlington County: Maple Shade, $10,987; Riverton Shade Tree Board, $28,400
Cape May County: Wildwood Crest, $50,000
Essex County: West Orange, $50,000
Hudson County: Jersey City, $50,000
Mercer County: East Windsor, $10,000; Hamilton Township, $50,000; Lawrence Township, $10,500; Mercer County Park Commission, $50,000
Monmouth County: Belmar, $9,800; Roosevelt, $8,515; Bradley Beach Shade Tree Commission, $15,000; Ocean Township Shade Tree Commission, $50,000
Morris County: Riverdale, $22,000; Morristown, $31,000
Ocean County: Jackson Township Shade Tree Commission, $20,000
Passaic County: Totowa, $25,000; County of Passaic, $13,500
Somerset County: Bound Brook, $30,000
Union County: Rahway, $42,375; Summit, $50,000
Warren County: Washington Borough Shade Tree Commission, $20,000
“Urban and Community Forestry grants are important for bringing trees to communities that are lacking in urban tree canopy, and equally important for ensuring that the existing urban trees and forests are maintained for the future,” said John Cecil, Director of the Division of Parks and Forestry.
Reforestation and tree planting grants ensure the growth and establishment of tress and forests that best suit the needs and goals of their communities.
Municipalities receiving grants in this category use the funding to increase their urban canopy, increase the ecological services of their urban and community forest, and provide a cooler place to live.
Reforestation and tree planting grants totaling $382,624 are awarded to:
Atlantic County: City of Egg Harbor, $30,000
Bergen County: River Edge Shade Tree Commission, $66,000
Burlington County: Delanco Township Shade Tree Commission, $80,000
Cape May County: West cape May Shade Tree Commission, $42,300
Middlesex County: Dunellen Shade Tree Commission, $50,499
Mercer County: Pennington, $10,000
Monmouth County: Freehold, $52,250; Spring Lake Shade Tree Committee, $51,575
“With proper care, trees in community and urban settings can be healthy and live long lives,” said State Forester John Sacco. “The New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry program provides the financial and technical assistance communities need to properly manage and care for urban and community trees and forests.”
Currently, 250 municipalities and counties across New Jersey have management plans for trees and forests approved by the New Jersey Forest Service, 150 of which are fully accredited with the Urban and Community Forestry Program.
Awarding stewardship grants in two categories since 2000, the New Jersey Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program provides financial assistance for projects on municipal or county property for resilience planning initiatives, and for reforestation and tree planting initiatives. The grant program is competitive. – New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection