Trenton, NJ — NJ Keep It Green today praised the Passaic County Freeholders for adopting a resolution that supports establishing sustainable state funding for the preservation and stewardship of open space, waterways, parks, farmland and historic sites throughout New Jersey.
“NJ Keep It Green is pleased that elected leaders in Passaic County recognize the importance of protecting New Jersey’s natural resources,” said Tom Gilbert, NJ Keep It Green chairman. “Preserving open space and farmland and protecting water quality are key to the economic vitality of our region and to the overall health and well being of residents.
“Additionally, sustainable funding is also necessary to continue the critical work of Green Acres and Blue Acres to preserve lands in coastal and floodplain areas that can help prevent damage from future storms.”
The following are just a few examples of how preservation funding has benefited Passaic County:
- Green Acres funds allowed for the restoration of the Lambert Castle Observatory Tower, a Victorian-era treasure located in the Passaic County Garret Mountain Reservation;
- Nearly 300 land acquisition and park development projects have been supported through the Green Acres program, helping to preserve more than 35,000 acres of open space;
- A portion of the 42-acre Kuehm farm, the last family-owned farm in Passaic County which dates back to 1894, was preserved with funding from the Farmland Preservation program.
Funds from a 2009 voter-approved bond issue that provided $400 million for Blue Acres, Green Acres, Farmland Preservation and Historic Preservation are expected to be fully allocated within the next several months, leaving little money left for these critical programs that have benefited municipalities across New Jersey.
“Preservation programs have enjoyed consistent bi-partisan support over the years and have made New Jersey a national leader in protecting open space, historic sites and farmland,” said Eileen Swan, of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “As a member of NJ Keep It Green, NJCF looks forward to working with the Governor and our legislative leaders to develop a bipartisan, sustainable funding program that will protect open space, including lands that help protect New Jersey residents from future storm damage.”
NJ Keep It Green in the spring of 2012 commissioned a survey of 600 registered voters that found 75 percent would support dedicating $200 million annually for 30 years for open space, farmland and historic preservation. The survey also found that 89 percent of voters believe it is important to protect coastal and inland areas prone to or affected by flooding.
In addition, a recent statewide poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind and co-sponsored by the New Jersey Farm Bureau found that 83 percent of New Jersey residents support the continuation of funding for the preservation of open space and farmland.
The New Jersey State League of Municipalities and several counties and municipalities across the state have adopted similar resolutions supporting a sustainable funding initiative, including Cumberland, Essex, Hunterdon, and Salem counties to date.
About NJ Keep It Green
NJ Keep It Green is a coalition of more than 175 park and conservation advocates working to create a long-term, dedicated source of funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s natural areas, waterways, parks, farmland and historic sites. NJ Keep It Green led successful campaigns to pass statewide ballot measures in 2006, 2007, and 2009 generating $600 million for state open space, farmland and historic preservation programs. For more information or to sign the NJ Keep It Green Statement of Support, visit www.njkeepitgreen.org.