NEW JERSEY – Using funds recovered from polluters, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is making $8 million in competitive grants available for ecological restoration and enhancement projects along two northwestern New Jersey river systems, according to Commissioner Catherine McCabe.
The grants are open to governmental agencies and nonprofit groups that are interested in developing and implementing projects along the Paulins Kill and Pequest River, tributaries of the Delaware River that flow through Warren and Sussex counties.
“Grants will fund projects to restore and enhance river habitats, improve water quality, or create fish passage for these two scenic and ecologically important river systems in the Skylands region of the state,” McCabe said. “The Paulins Kill and Pequest are treasures that support a great diversity of wildlife and are among the most important trout production streams in the state.”
Applications are now being accepted and may be accessed at the DEP’s Office of Natural Resource Restoration website. The maximum grant to be awarded is $5 million and there is no minimum.
The grant program is funded by Natural Resource Damage settlements the state has secured over the years with polluters who have caused past harm to natural resources such as ground water, wetlands and waterways. The Murphy Administration is committed to aggressively pursuing Natural Resource Damage actions, enforcement and other litigation against polluters, including prioritizing actions in the state’s environmental justice communities.
Applicants for the Paulins Kill and Pequest grants must be a New Jersey government agency or a nonprofit organization proposing a restoration or enhancement project along the two rivers or their tributaries. The DEP must receive the complete grant proposal application by the close of business on Sept. 21, 2020.
As part of its broader mission of restoring natural resources statewide, the DEP’s Office of Natural Resource Restoration for years has been focusing on projects to restore the Paulins Kill and Pequest river systems, including projects to remove obsolete dams to make them flow freely again. These projects have opened spawning habitat for migratory fish species and improved water quality.