(22/P012) TRENTON – The Department of Environmental Protection is awarding 38 grants totaling $1.3 million to encourage stewardship of city and community trees and forests across New Jersey, Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today. The grants support Gov. Phil Murphy’s environmental justice initiatives in vulnerable neighborhoods, with 75 percent of the funding going to municipalities with at least one congested community.
“Urban trees and forests are critical to the many benefits they provide for cleaning our air and water and providing cool shade as temperatures warmer,” said Commissioner LaTourette. “Trees are also part of our daily life. They uplift people, beautify neighborhoods, witness important moments, and improve communities.”
Funding for the 2021 grants comes from the sale of Treasure Our Trees state license plates and the New Jersey Forest Service’s No Net Loss Compensatory Reforestation Program. The importance and value of trees and forests is recognized worldwide today, International Forest Day. The United Nations General Assembly established the day 10 years ago to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.
“Promoting tree justice in New Jersey’s overburdened communities gives us an opportunity to address the three pillars of thriving communities: social, environmental, and economic vitality.” said Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Justice and Justice Olivia Glenn. “From greenhouse gases to urban heat islands Tree canopy shortages can impact the social, environmental, and economic quality of life of some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents.”
Resilience planning grants help communities assess their current urban forest and provide important data on forest structure and composition. This data can then be used to better inform forest management decisions to maximize environmental benefits and create a sustainable urban forest.
Reforestation and tree planting grants ensure the growth and establishment of trees and forests that best meet the needs and goals of their communities. Municipalities receiving grants in this category in 2021 will use the funds to increase their urban canopy, improve the ecological services of their urban and community forests, and create a cooler place to live.
“Urban and community forestry grants are important for bringing trees into communities that are short of urban canopy, and equally important for ensuring that existing urban trees and forests are preserved for the future.” said John Cecil, director of the Department of Parks and Forestry.
Resiliency Planning Grants totaling $925,374 will be awarded:
County of Bergen: 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
County Burlington: maple umbrella, $10,987; Riverton Shade Tree Board, $28,400
County Cape May: Wildwood Crest, $50,000
County of Essex: 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 Parks Commission, $50,000
County of Monmouth: 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 Bach, $30,000
Union County: Rahway, $42,375; Summit, $50,000
Warren County: Washington Borough Shade Tree Commission, $20,000
Reforestation and tree planting grants totaling $382,624 will be awarded:
Atlantic County: City of Egg Harbor, $30,000
County of Bergen: River Edge Shade Tree Commission, $66,000
County Burlington: Delanco Community Shade Tree Commission, $80,000
County Cape May: Western Cape May Shade Tree Commission, $42,300
County of Middlesex: Dunellen Shade Tree Provision, $50,499
Mercer County: Pennington, $10,000
County of Monmouth: Real Estate, $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 support communities need to properly manage and care for urban and community trees and forests.”
Currently, 250 municipalities and counties across New Jersey have tree and forest management plans approved by the New Jersey Forest Service, of which 150 are fully accredited with the Urban and Community Forestry Program.
The New Jersey Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program has awarded two categories of stewardship grants since 2000 and provides financial support for projects on community or county properties for resilience planning, reforestation and tree planting initiatives. The scholarship program is competitive.
For more information about the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Program, visit www.communityforestry.nj.gov.
To watch a video about the International Day of Forests and the Community and Urban Forestry Grants visit https://youtu.be/WUX5wM4XlXw.
Like the New Jersey Forest Service on Facebook at www.facebook.com/newjerseyforests
Visit https://nj.gov/mvc/vehicles/treasure.htm for more information on obtaining a Treasure Our Trees license plate for a commercial vehicle or passenger vehicle that funds the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Grants.
For more information on Urban and Community Forestry Stewardship grants and related programs, visit www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/forest/urbanandcommunity/grants.html.
Follow Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP, Facebook @newjerseydep, Instagram @nj.dep and LinkedIn @newjerseydep