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Byram Township gets $10,000 community forestry grant

TRENTON – Byram Township is to be awarded stewardship funds under the latest Urban and Community Forestry Program, according to the Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe.

The Department of Environmental Protection is awarding $122,500 in grants to 11 municipalities to promote the stewardship of urban and community trees and forests, McCabe said.

Ecosystem services information provided for 2019 NJ State Arbor Day celebration on Red Oak at Rutgers University, Cook/Douglas Campus.The New Jersey Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program has been awarding Stewardship Grants since 2000. The grants provide financial assistance to counties and municipalities statewide to assist in implementing their local Community Forestry Management Plans, McCabe said.

“Trees have many vital roles in New Jersey,” Commissioner McCabe said. “They fight climate change by sequestering carbon as they grow and provide critical shade as temperatures rise. Trees also are the backdrop for both historic and personal events in our lives, protect us from flooding, stand as environmental health indicators and beautify our neighborhoods. These grants will help continue the important work of protecting and growing our urban and community trees and forests.”

Funding for the 2019 grants comes from the “Treasure Our Trees” state license plate sales and the No Net Loss Compensatory Reforestation program, McCabe said.

“Trees and forests are important to us on so many levels, from helping to reduce greenhouse gases and energy use, thereby lessening the impacts of climate change and strengthening the resilience of our towns and cities, to improving the quality of life for residents, cleaning the air we breathe, providing habitat for wildlife, providing shade and contributing to an overall healthier environment,” said DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources Ray Bukowski. “It is a priority of the New Jersey Forest Service to not only plant trees in our communities and urban areas, but to ensure their long-term survival through proper planning and management.”

Resiliency planning grants totaling $76,500 have been awarded to eight municipalities:

  • Byram Township, Sussex County ($10,000)
  • Merchantville Borough, Camden County ($10,000)
  • City of Trenton, Mercer County ($10,000)
  • Pennsauken Township, Camden County ($10,000)
  • Teaneck Township, Bergen County ($10,000)
  • Ridgewood Village, Bergen County ($10,000)
  • West Cape May Borough, Cape May County ($10,000)
  • Park Ridge Borough, Bergen County ($6,500)

Reforestation and tree-planting grants totaling $46,000 have been awarded to three municipalities:

  • Hightstown Borough, Mercer County ($7,000)
  • East Windsor Township, Mercer County ($30,000)
  • South Orange Township, Essex County ($9,000)

The grants are used for work on a variety of projects, such as community tree inventories, risk tree assessments, storm assessments, tree planting, and reforestation. Local governments also use the grants to manage impacts from the emerald ash borer, an invasive tree-killing beetle that is causing widespread losses of ash trees across the nation, McCabe said.

Since its first detection in New Jersey in 2014, the emerald ash borer has been found in 98 municipalities in 15 of the state’s 21 counties. Grant funding will allow communities to conduct inventories to identify ash trees, develop emerald ash borer mitigation plans and replace removed ash trees with another tree species, McCabe said.

“The emerald ash borer remains the most significant threat to the health, safety and sustainability of our urban and community forests,” State Forester John Sacco said. “It is important that each community and property owner act now to address this continuing threat. Proper management is essential because infested trees can eventually become a public safety concern.”

With proper care, trees in community and urban settings can be healthy and live long lives. 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, McCabe said.

“A comprehensive local urban and community forestry program provides environmental, social and economic benefits,” said Carrie Sargeant, Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator. “Communities that are accredited with the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Program have a Community Forestry Management Plan, participate in required training and education programs, and report back to the program on their accomplishments every year.”

At the beginning of 2019, 236 municipalities and counties across New Jersey had New Jersey Forest Service-approved Community Forestry Management Plans, 149 of which were fully accredited with the Urban and Community Forestry Program, McCabe said.       

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Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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