Grants Offered for 2003 Barnegat Bay Projects

Morristown, New Jersey, 2/10/03The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national land conservation organization, today announced that for the ninth consecutive year, grants will be offered to nonprofit organizations for local and regional projects directly benefiting the Barnegat Bay and its watershed.

Eligible organizations can apply for funding for projects that encompass environmental education, planning, monitoring, research, and/or stewardship. The grants will range from $500 to $5,000, totaling $25,000 in awards.

Since the inception of the grants program, $245,000 has been awarded to support projects to protect the Barnegat Bay and its watershed. The grants draw from a fund established by $2.5 million from the former Ciba-Geigy Corporation to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Trust for Public Land was designated by the DEP as the administrator of the fund because of the organization’s long-term protection effort on behalf of the bay. This arrangement is the largest of its type ever made with a nonprofit land conservation organization in New Jersey.

Proposals for 2003 grants must be received by March 7, and awards will be announced the first week in April. While only 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations are eligible, schools and government entities, such as municipalities, and environmental commissions are encouraged to partner with a qualifying nonprofit organization if they have a project that would benefit the bay.

Grants for nine projects in 2002 supported such organizations as the Forked River Mountain Coalition, Marine Trades Association of New Jersey and New Jersey Audubon Society. A grant to the latter supported a series of seminars to senior citizens, who play an enormous role in the shaping of the bay area but are underserved when it comes to environmental education.

Organizations interested in applying for a grant should contact Erin Maguire at the Trust for Public Land, 20 Community Place-2nd Floor, Morristown, New Jersey, 07960, (973) 292-1100 or to request a copy of the application and guidelines or receive additional information. The application is also available on TPL’s website.

The Barnegat Bay Environmental Grant Fund is one element of the Trust for Public Land’s Barnegat Bay Initiative, a long-term strategic approach to land preservation that includes land acquisition of critical properties, public education, scientific research, land planning, and stewardship. The Barnegat Bay ecosystem encompasses 450 square miles of tidal shoreline, back bay islands, marsh creeks and pine-oak forest on the New Jersey shore. For more than a decade, TPL has been working to protect sensitive watershed and wildlife habitat in the state’s most rapidly developing region. To date, TPL has published two reports on the Barnegat Bay ecosystem. The goal of the program is to balance appropriate public access and recreation with the protection of water quality and critical wildlife habitat.

The Trust for Public Land, with a state office in Morristown, is a national nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to preserving land for public use. TPL works with local, state, and federal agencies, and grassroots land trusts using its real estate, legal and public financing expertise to protect land. TPL has protected more than 1.5 million acres nationwide, including more than 9,400 acres in Barnegat Bay.