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(11/P12) TRENTON * The Christie Administration today announced the award of $3.2 million in grants to fund 6 nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control projects throughout the State, including $1 million targeting polluting runoff into Barnegat Bay.
These grant projects, funded through the Department of Environmental Protection's federal Clean Water Act Section 319(h) Grant Program, are designed to reduce the amount of nonpoint source pollution entering the State's waters, thereby restoring and protecting water quality in priority watersheds.
NPS pollution results from animal waste, excess fertilizers, motor vehicle fluids, litter and other pollutants that are washed into local waterways by stormwater runoff. Reducing this runoff is one of the key components of Gov. Christie's comprehensive 10-point Barnegat Bay Restoration Plan.
The largest award, $1 million, goes to the nonprofit American Littoral Society and will be earmarked for the group's continued Barnegat Bay improvement efforts. Also funded are projects in the city of Camden, and for the Troy Brook Watershed in Morris County, Great Swamp Watershed in Morris and Somerset counties, plus the Cooper River and Upper Cohansey watersheds in South Jersey.
"Ensuring the quality of the State's potable water supply and the recreational value of our rivers, streams and coastal waters is a priority of Gov. Christie and the DEP,'' said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. "These projects that have been funded all will play an important role in improving water quality, especially in Barnegat Bay, and enhancing our environment.''
Five of the six projects that have been funded will implement nonpoint source pollution abatement projects associated with DEP-approved Watershed Restoration and Protection Plans. The sixth award is an Environmental Justice Communities of Concern Program award for an urban stormwater demonstration and education outreach project being undertaken by Rutgers University in Camden.
The $1 million award to the American Littoral Society, which is a coastal conservation association, builds upon prior and existing implementation and planning initiatives previously funded by the Department. It advances efforts that are aligned with the Governor's comprehensive action plan to address the health of Barnegat Bay.
The first goal of this project will be to develop a stormwater basin priority selection methodology that builds on previous efforts initiated by Ocean County, Rutgers University and the Ocean County Soil Conservation District. Stormwater basins selected for retrofit will be prioritized based on cost and pollutant load reduction estimates with the focus on reducing nutrient and sediment loadings into Barnegat Bay.
This project also will undertake pollutant source reductions through construction of smaller bio-retention facilities and technologies in these and other priority sub-watersheds, while providing much needed groundwater recharge in areas where impervious surfaces dominate the landscape.
Other grant awards include:
*$500,000 to Rutgers University to implement NPS measures identified in the Troy Brook Watershed Restoration and Protection Plan. Disconnection of impervious surfaces in targeted watersheds will be undertaken through the construction of bio-retention structures and rain gardens.
*$712,500 to Rutgers University to carry out agricultural NPS control projects throughout the Upper Cohansey Watershed through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. It will result in the establishment of vegetative buffers and bio-retention structures along waterways to reduce pathogens and nutrient loadings.
*$400,000 to the Camden County Soil Conservation District to undertake a project within the Cooper River Watershed to implement NPS measures that will address fecal and nutrient loadings. The Conservation District will retrofit stormwater basins, construct roadside swales and rain gardens and undertake a demonstration project using innovative floating wetland treatment technologies designed to reduce nutrient loadings.
*$300,000 to the Great Swamp Watershed Association to implement agricultural NPS control projects to reduce pathogens and nutrient loadings in the Loantaka Watershed that are identified in the Great Swamp Watershed Plan. This project, to be done in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will result in establishment of vegetative buffers and bio-retention structures and manure management programs to reduce fecal coliform impairments.
*$300,000 to Rutgers University to implement green infrastructure projects, such as bio-retention facilities and rain gardens, to capture, treat and infiltrate stormwater runoff in the City of Camden. It also will provide education and training programs that focus on teaching adults and youth the importance of stormwater management.