Barnegat Bay (NJ) environmental grants improve Bay ecosystem

Ocean County, NY: Today, at a ceremony at Berkeley Island County Park, eight organizations were awarded $25,000 in grants from the Barnegat Bay Environmental Grant Fund and three new members were welcomed to the Board of Directors. Since 1994, 35 organizations have received $195,000 through the Bay Fund.

“So many local organizations are working to protect the Barnegat Bay through a wide variety of projects. A grant program such as the Bay Fund helps support these efforts and make their project ideas a reality,” said Cindy Gilman, Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land. “Again this year, the Fund is supporting some very valuable projects.”

Grants are awarded to non-profit organizations for activities that promote environmental education, planning, monitoring, research or land stewardship in the Barnegat Bay and its watershed. The annual grants are made possible by a $2.5 million contribution by the Ciba-Geigy Corporation to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Trust for Public Land was designated the administrator of the Bay Fund by the DEP because of the organization’s long-term protection effort on behalf of the Bay.

Projects that have been supported in the past include water quality monitoring, environmental education workshops, habitat restoration and everything in between, each project having a positive impact on the health of the Bay and its ecosystems.

“Some of these groups have come back year after year with one good idea after the next and have used this funding opportunity to benefit the Barnegat Bay in many different ways,” said Alan Avery, Jr. Director of the Ocean County Department of Planning and master of ceremonies at the event.

Two of this year’s recipients, the Barnegat Garden Club and the Jersey Shore Audubon Society have submitted proposals and been funded each year, receiving $20,300 and $25,900 respectively since the Bay Fund was established.

“Because of the funds made available through the Barnegat Bay Environmental Grant Fund, the Barnegat Garden Club has been able to continue its work educating the public about natural resources,” said Diane Bennett, of the Barnegat Garden Club. “These grants have made our work possible, including the Emily de Camp Herbarium, Janet’s Garden-a study of indigenous plant communities-and this year’s project, the creation of a native landscape habitat.

The Garden Club will use this year’s $4,000 grant to create a garden in a disturbed, barren area surrounding the Acolim Nature Center at Island Beach State Park. The project will be integrated into the overall educational opportunities provided by the park.

In addition to several other repeat grantees, three organizations are receiving grants for the first time this year: the Clara B. Worth School Parent Teachers Association, the League of Women Voters and Save Barnegat Bay.

“We are very encouraged by the fact that, each year, new groups are turning to this fund as a way to support their planning, education and conservation efforts in the Bay,” said Avery.

Following the presentation of the grants, three new members were welcomed to the Board of Directors of the Barnegat Bay Environmental Grant Fund. Martha Maxwell Doyle of Clean Ocean Action, Patricia Crosier and Roger Locandro join the Board, which reviews the grant applications in March and decides which programs will be supported each year.

John Sly and Andy Strauss were honored for their many years of service as they step down from the Board. The nine-member Board also includes: Alan Avery, Jr., Director, Ocean County Department of Planning; Ken Dupuis, Site Manager, Ciba Specialty Chemicals; Cindy Gilman, Project Manager, the Trust for Public Land; Janet Larson, Resource Management Program Associate, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County; Pete McLain, Outdoor Writer and Environmental Consultant and Robert Scro, PhD, Barnegat Bay Estuary Program Director, NJDEP, Division of Watershed Management.

2000 Barnegat Bay Environmental Grant Fund Recipients:
Barnegat Garden Club: $4,000 to create a garden in a disturbed, barren area surrounding the Acolim Nature Center at Island Beach State Park using indigenous plants to restore critical wildlife habitat.Youth Environmental Society: $4,000 to develop a management plan for utilization of the former Lighthouse Camp as an education center. The site has potential as a conference center, training facility, outdoor classrooms, and residential environmental education center.

Jersey Shore Audubon Society: $3,900 to re-map, plot and digitize the locations of eelgrass and widgeon grass beds to upgrade present maps for evaluation of these resources.

League of Women Voters of New Jersey Education Fund: $3,700 to reproduce an eight-page publication entitled “What You Can do to Prevent Non-point Source Pollution in the Barnegat Bay Watershed.” Copies will be free for public distribution.

Forked River Mountain Coalition: $3,500 to continue short-term management techniques for target species, monitor species of concern and expand public education in the Barnegat Bay watershed.

Save Barnegat Bay (Ocean County Izaak Walton League): $3,000 to create and publish a website designed to offer information on Barnegat Bay in order to preserve the land and clean water throughout the watershed.

Clara B. Worth School Parent Teachers Association: $900 for students to produce a series of bilingual wetland posters, integrating study of the environment, art education, and language skills.

With its state office in Morristown, the Trust for Public Land has protected more than 12,500 acres of land in New Jersey, including more than 6,000 acres in the Barnegat Bay. The purchase earlier this month of 126 acres along the Toms River and the Wrangle Brook shielded the Bay from a 158-home subdivision slated for the property, which would have severely impacted this fragile ecosystem already heavily taxed by development.