New Jersey lakes getting $10 million to fight algae blooms, stormwater runoff

(UC) — The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection launched a $10 million lakes management grants program to mitigate stormwater and runoff pollution at public lakes, ensuring they can be used for recreation or properly conserved.

Governments, lake commissions, nonprofit organizations and other entities within the state are eligible for funding, if they were established specifically to manage publicly accessible waterbodies, the department announced.

The department is accepting applications for funding through May 28. Projects that will be considered should address stormwater management, nonpoint source pollution and related infrastructure needs at public lakes, while maintaining, improving or enhancing recreation or conservation activities.

“Investments such as rain gardens or stormwater improvements to restore and protect natural resources in our watersheds help protect communities from damaging storms, reduce the impacts of climate change that are favorable to harmful algal blooms and improve water quality,” State Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette said. “I encourage all local leaders and organizations in northeastern New Jersey and in the Delaware River Watershed to apply for this grant funding.”

Algae blooms have closed New Jersey lakes in recent years, the Daily Record reported.

Funding applications and project proposals must be submitted by May 28 to the DEP’s Water Quality Restoration Grants Program. Projects that may be eligible for grant funding include:

  • Development and/or implementation of Lake Watershed Protection Plans, including updates to existing approved plans statewide;
  • Development and implementation of individual lake stormwater/non-point source pollution plans;   
  • Use of green infrastructure to reduce stormwater runoff in communities with aging combined wastewater-stormwater infrastructure; 
  • Projects that improve existing stormwater management infrastructure; 
  • Projects that restore or improve the water quality function of stream and waterbody riparian zones and/or wetland buffers; 
  • Watershed and lake management activities designed to improve lake water quality and maintain recreational and conservation uses of the qualifying lake.

The grant money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

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