Morristown residents can look forward to a greener future as the Murphy Administration awards $1.1 million in urban and community forestry grants to enhance the management of New Jersey's urban trees and forests.
Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the distribution of 23 grants, totaling $1,106,934, to local governments and non-profit organizations in celebration of the International Day of Forests.
Reforestation and tree planting grants totaling $598,216 have been 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)
Resiliency planning grants totaling $508,718 have been 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)
The grants will provide essential funding for initiatives that will improve the urban tree canopy throughout the state, helping to reduce heat island effects, improve human health, and mitigate stormwater and air pollution. The DEP's Urban and Community Forestry grants have been awarded through a competitive process since 2000, with the aim of fostering the establishment and growth of local, self-sustaining urban and community forestry programs.
Funding for the 2022 grants comes from "Treasure Our Trees" state license plate sales and the New Jersey Forest Service's No Net Loss Compensatory Reforestation Program. These grants will support reforestation, tree planting, and resiliency planning efforts across New Jersey.
Pequannock Township Department of Public Works in Morris County has been awarded $50,000 for reforestation and tree planting. Additionally, the Morris County Park Commission will receive a $50,000 resiliency planning grant.
Assistant Commissioner for State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites, John Cecil, highlighted the importance of trees and forests in storing carbon and reducing greenhouse gases and energy use. By planting trees in communities and urban areas, and ensuring their long-term survival through proper planning and management, the New Jersey Forest Service is working to strengthen the resilience of towns and cities.
Grants will be used for various projects, including community tree inventories, risk tree assessments, storm assessments, tree planting, and reforestation. Local governments can also utilize the funds to manage impacts from invasive species, such as the emerald ash borer, which has been responsible for the widespread loss of ash trees across the nation.
New Jersey State Forester Todd Wyckoff emphasized the environmental, social, and economic benefits of local urban and community forestry programs. These efforts contribute to the overall well-being of communities by creating valuable environmental, economic, and social benefits.
The New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Program currently has 253 municipalities and counties with approved management plans for trees and forests. Of these, 152 are fully accredited with the program. In 2023, the program plans to announce a new round of grants aimed at urban and community tree inventory to help inform local management decisions moving forward.
For more information about the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Program, including details on accreditation, visit www.communityforestry.nj.gov.
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