Last year, Green Acres funding was used to acquire more than 38,000 acres of land for recreation and conservation, surpassing by more than 2,000 acres the programs previously highest annual acquisition total. Green Acres funding also helped municipalities, counties and nonprofits to acquire land and develop park and recreation facilities in all of New Jerseys 21 counties.
"New Jersey ranks as a national leader in land preservation," Commissioner Campbell said. "The record set last year reflects our commitment to protecting precious natural, scenic, historic and recreational resources."
The DEP strengthened its commitment to preserving land in the Highlands and to boosting recreation and conservation opportunities in New Jerseys most densely populated areas. In the Highlands, the Green Acres Program acquired more than 15,600 acres for permanent protection. Of that, more than 13,300 acres were preserved by the state; local governments and nonprofits used Green Acres funding to acquire nearly 2,300 acres of land. These acquisition projects will help protect critical drinking-water supplies for more than 5.4 million residents.
In New Jerseys urban areas, open space, parks and recreation projects are central to successful redevelopment initiatives. During 2005, the DEP dedicated additional funding to Urban Aid and densely populated municipalities and counties, making nearly $17 million available for local urban acquisition and park development projects.
"There is no stronger testament to the success of the Green Acres Program than residents consistent approval of open space and recreation referendums at both the state and local levels," said John S. Watson Jr., Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. "Since 1961, voters have approved nine Green Acres bond issues totaling $1.6 billion."
In addition, the 1998 Garden State Preservation Trust provided nearly $2 billion in additional funds for open space, farmland, and historic preservation, bringing the combined public investment to more than $3.6 billion in state dollars.
Since 1961, the Green Acres Program, together with public and private partners, has acquired and protected more than 597,000 acres of open space. New Jersey has more than 1.3 million acres of protected open space, including restored and improved municipal, county and nonprofit parks.
In 2005, Green Acres directly acquired more than 31,000 acres for public use and enjoyment. The land will be managed by the DEPs Parks and Forestry or Fish and Wildlife Divisions, the Natural Lands Trust, or in cooperation with one of its many preservation partners. These lands are used for public recreation and enjoyment, and for preserving New Jerseys exceptional natural and historic resources.
Local and Nonprofit Assistance
In 2005, grant and loan payments to municipal and county governments and nonprofit organizations totaled nearly $85 million for land acquisition and the development of outdoor recreational facilities in every county. These local governments and nonprofits preserved almost 7,000 acres of land and improved over 50 parks with Green Acres assistance.
Green Acres provides matching grants and low-interest loans to municipal and county governments to acquire open space and develop outdoor recreation facilities. The program also provides matching grants to nonprofit organizations to acquire land for public recreation and conservation purposes. Posted by: Staff at rt23.com
January 25, 2006
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