West Orange receives $10,000 grant from NJAW

WEST ORANGE, NJ — In honor of Earth Day on April 22, New Jersey American Water announced the recipients of its 2022 Environmental Grant Program. This year, the company awarded a total of $41,000 to five organizations and community groups within its service areas that are engaged in sustainability projects to improve water source protection or watershed protection.

“At New Jersey American Water, we recognize that people aren’t the only ones who need clean water — the environment depends on it too,” said Danielle Kearsley, environmental program lead at NJAW. “That is why we are proud to offer over $40,000 in funding this year to support these innovative projects. By investing in the restoration and protection of our watersheds, we can help preserve our water sources and the life they sustain for years to come.”

The 2022 Environmental Grant Awardees are as follows:

  • Cranford Public Library was awarded $1,000 to establish a native seed library for Union County residents. The library will provide a curated collection of plant seeds with the goal of preserving local biodiversity by increasing native plant populations. Seeds will be distributed at no cost to residents with educational materials about planting, maintaining and gathering future seeds from the plant.
  • The Hansen Foundation was awarded $10,000 for its biodiversity project in partnership with Enlightened Farm in Egg Harbor. This project will focus on restoring the natural local habitat by diversifying plant and animal species with a series of six pollinator, native plant, agricultural and wildlife grazing plots across its 3-acre farm. Restoration of the farm will reduce soil displacement and flooding issues on the property and allow for increased penetration of rainwater back into the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer.
  • The Rumson Borough Environmental Commission was awarded $10,000 for its Emerald Necklace Green Infrastructure Project. The project will include three demonstration rain gardens with bioswales throughout the town. The commission will host several workshops to educate the public on how to create their own rain garden and will provide starter kits. Webinars will also be posted to build a Rain Garden Ambassador program.
  • Somerset County OEM was awarded $10,000 for countywide reforestation efforts using native trees and shrubs to help mitigate flooding from stormwater runoff impacts in the county’s most vulnerable areas. These efforts will allow stormwater runoff to be taken up by root systems to create natural “storage areas” while providing clean water, habitat and food for local wildlife. Together with several municipal partners, this project will engage the local communities to learn about the benefits of reforestation has on the local watershed.
  • The West Orange Township Environmental and Open Space Commission was awarded $10,000 for its “Downstream to the River: Phase II” project, which will continue the organization’s efforts around river cleanups, restoration and education for the Rahway River and its connecting water bodies. The project will focus on educating the ever-growing population in the region about the importance of consistently taking care of the rivers and streams that make up the local watershed.

Established in 2008, the company’s Environmental Grant Program has provided more than $429,000 in funding to 51 community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect the watersheds, surface water and groundwater supplies in communities served by New Jersey American Water.