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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Provides $1 Million to Protect Wetlands in New Jersey

Contact Information: 
John Martin (martin.johnj@epa.gov)

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $1,073,000 to Ocean County College, the New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to better protect wetlands throughout New Jersey.

"Wetlands play a critical role in alleviating harmful effects of climate change, protecting against flooding and storm surges," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "These grants will help strengthen shorelines and the health of wetlands, protecting water quality and fish and wildlife habitats."

Ocean County College will use a $184,548 grant to develop monitoring procedures to assess the condition and progress of tidal marsh restoration sites. The project will build on wetland monitoring work Ocean County College has performed through the Barnegat Bay Partnership and in collaboration with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. These parties will evaluate restoration progress in the context of ongoing long term intensive monitoring and watershed-wide rapid assessment monitoring being conducted in tidal marshes in the Barnegat and Delaware estuaries. Ocean County College and its partners will contribute $62,365 towards the total cost of this project.

The New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority's Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute will use a $367,756 EPA grant to measure long-term carbon storage, and the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in a range of marshes in the Meadowlands. Coastal marshes play an important role in the transformation of carbon and nitrogen, and remove carbon from the atmosphere. The Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute will take measurements from tidal marshes with different physical and chemical conditions. Findings from the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute's investigations will provide information for tidal wetland mitigation and resiliency designs in the Meadowlands, with the goal of increasing carbon sequestration and minimizing greenhouse gas releases. The Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute will contribute $143,625 towards the total cost of this project.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will use a $393,700 grant to improve the availability and accessibility of data on the health and condition of New Jersey's wetlands. The DEP will select and collect information from wetlands chosen for their overall environmental health, and will participate in an interactive database tool being developed by a team at Penn State that provides information on wetland attributes in wetlands throughout the mid-Atlantic region. The DEP will also use this grant funding to conduct analyses on these data to determine the most useful measures and standards to apply in future wetland restoration projects in New Jersey. In addition, funding will be used to install a monitoring station in the Raritan Bay, which will be used to conduct two years of site specific intensive monitoring. These stations will extend ongoing tidal wetland monitoring efforts from the Meadowlands to sites in Ocean and Cumberland Counties. The DEP will contribute $131,233 towards the total cost of this project.

With a $126,958 grant, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will measure hydraulic and vegetation characteristics of the tidal marshes of the Mullica and Wading Rivers. The DEP will use this data to establish a baseline of reference conditions, and to evaluate disturbances (such as tidal tributary widening, pond expansion, erosion) in other tidal marsh systems and the effect these disturbances may have in supporting mid-Atlantic fisheries. Tidal marshes are highly productive ecosystems that provide habitats for birds, fish and shellfish, and storm-surging buffering. The loss of coastal marshes can have devastating ecosystem-level consequences, and are among the most susceptible ecosystems to climate change. The DEP will contribute $42,320 towards the total cost of this project.

Since 1990, EPA's Wetland Program Development Grants have provided financial assistance to help build or refine state and local government wetland programs. These funds provide opportunities for states to conduct research and help build the science behind comprehensive wetlands programs at the state level.

For more information on the EPA's Wetland Program Development Grants, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/wetlands/funding-and-other-resources

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