TRENTON –Two bills that would appropriate constitutionally dedicated funding to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the acquisition of lands for recreational and conservation purposes, including for Blue Acres projects, and provide funding for capital projects and park development on lands administered by the DEP’s Division of Parks and Forestry and Division of Fish and Wildlife were approved by the full Senate yesterday.
The first bill, S-2728, sponsored by Senator Richard Codey would appropriate $12.3 million to the state Department of Environmental Protection to fund the acquisition of lands in the following Green Acre project areas:
- Barnegat Bay Watershed Greenway
- Cape May Peninsula
- Crossroads of American Revolution
- Delaware Watershed Greenway
- Highlands Greenway
- Historic Resources
- Natural areas
- Ridge and Valley Greenway
An additional $3 million would be appropriated for recreation and conservation purposes of lands that have been damaged by or may be prone to incurring damage from storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer other lands from such damage.
“The people of New Jersey, time and again, have supported Green Acres and Blue Acres programs to provide funding for open-space preservation and to protect natural sites from the ravages of storms and flooding,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris). “We have this funding for this purpose and these projects have merit for all the people of New Jersey. And it’s imperative that we take pro-active steps to protect our state from the effects of future storms that could be as devastating as or even more severe than was Superstorm Sandy.”
The second bill, S-2729, sponsored by Senate Law and Public Safety Chairwoman Linda Greenstein would appropriate roughly $9.7 million to the DEP for funding capital projects and park development. Projects receiving funding would include:
- Boating and Fishing Access
- Camping Development
- Habitat Enhancement and Access
- Infrastructure (Including bridge repairs, building repairs and renovations, recreational development, road repairs and historic structure stabilization and repairs
“Our parks are state jewels,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We need to continually invest in their upkeep – improving accessibility, expanding services and preserving the historic value of many of these locations. This is part of what New Jersey residents expect to see their tax dollars being used for – making New Jersey truly a Garden State.”
Both bills were released by votes of 39-0.