South Orange receives grant for floodplain reforestation project

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Sustainable Jersey announced Feb. 18 that more than $38,000 was awarded to eight New Jersey municipalities, including South Orange, 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.

In addition to South Orange, the other grant recipients are Oakland, Mount Holly, Vineland, High Bridge, Asbury Park, Bernardsville and Springfield. These communities will receive funding to cover the costs of tree saplings and protection. The trees will be planted by local volunteers.

“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, the 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.”

Planting trees in places where the floodplains have been degraded will protect the lands and waters on which the people of New Jersey depend, according to the release from Sustainable Jersey.

“Sustainable Jersey values our partnership with The Nature Conservancy. These grants will help catalyze floodplain restoration efforts across the state,” Sustainable Jersey Executive Director Randall Solomon said.

South Orange was awarded $3,785 for the Clark Street Reforestation Project. Additionally, Oakland received $4,672 for the Little Pond Brook Restoration Initiative; Mount Holly received $3,878 to restore the Riparian Buffer at Mill Dam and Iron Works Park; Vineland received $15,210 to enhance the wetlands at the Blackwater Branch and Maurice River EPA Superfund Site; High Bridge received $1,256 for its South Branch of the Raritan River Reforestation Project; Asbury Park received $3,000 for the Sunset Lake Reforestation Project; Bernardsville received $2,200 to restore the headwaters of the Passaic River along the Riparian Corridor; and Springfield received $4,807 to reforest the Rahway River Parkway Flood Plain.