South Orange, Belleville receive Sustainable Jersey funding

EWING, NJ — Sustainable Jersey announced Feb. 5 that more than $50,000 was awarded to 15 New Jersey municipalities for floodplain reforestation projects. The Roots for Rivers Reforestation Grant and Technical Assistance Program is a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, The Watershed Institute and Sustainable Jersey. To date, Roots for Rivers funded proposals include more than 92,000 trees to support New Jersey floodplains.

In Essex County, Belleville and South Orange will receive funding to cover the costs of tree saplings and protection. The trees will be planted by local volunteers.

Belleville will receive $3,153 for its Camp Carragher Floodplain Restoration Project to plant 500 trees. South Orange will receive $3,905.40 to plant 512 trees to reforest the village’s floodplains.

“Throughout much of the state, our floodplains have been deforested and left without trees to help filter water, absorb flooding or cool the river for fish,” said Michelle DiBlasio, watershed restoration coordinator for the New Jersey Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. “One important way to help ensure we can continue to rely upon our precious natural water resources is to restore New Jersey’s floodplains — the critical land near our rivers’ banks. For the past five years, the Nature Conservancy has worked with local, state and federal partners in northwestern New Jersey to reforest the floodplains of a key tributary to the Delaware River, the Paulins Kill. Through the Roots for Rivers reforestation program, we have been able to catalyze these restoration efforts statewide and help communities protect their local waterways for future generations.”

“This funding is exactly what we need to manage flood waters and save endangered fish and wildlife,” Sustainable Jersey Executive Director Randall Solomon said. “Besides flood and drought protection, floodplains can prevent erosion, improve soil formation, purify water-replenishing groundwater reservoirs, and support the conservation of habitats and species. Sustainable Jersey values our partnership with the Nature Conservancy and applauds the municipalities for doing the hard work at the local level.”