GOVERNOR CORZINE WELCOMES FEDERAL STIMULUS GRANTS TO PROTECT FORESTS AND CREATE TREE-CARE JOBS
(09/P17) TRENTON - Governor Jon S. Corzine today welcomed nearly $2 million in federal economic stimulus funding to the Department of Environmental Protection's Forest Service for projects that will improve the overall ecological health of the state’s trees while creating a diversity of jobs in fields related to tree care.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service will create a wide range of jobs in New Jersey, including employment for tree planters, heavy equipment operators, irrigation contractors, and forestry consultants and managers.
“This is a splendid example of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act creating green jobs right here in New Jersey,” Governor Corzine said. “Trees are essential to our quality of life. This funding will now help many people make a living by working on stewardship projects that will improve the health of trees in forests and communities throughout the state.”
“The projects funded by these grants will make a big difference in the state's efforts to ensure a healthy supply of trees that provide so many important ecological benefits, including moderating the effects of climate change,” DEP Acting Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello said.
The grants will fund a state grant program to help many of New Jersey's communities improve the health of their trees, allow assessment and removal of trees harmed by gypsy moth infestations, fund construction of an irrigation project at the state nursery in Jackson, and restore migratory-bird habitat near the coast in eastern Burlington County.
The New Jersey Community Stewardship Incentive Program received $992,000 for use in urban and community forestry projects. Some 137 cities and towns statewide have qualified for this grant program by filing state-approved tree stewardship plans. Municipalities will be able to apply for grants to have outside contractors remove hazardous trees, plant trees or perform other shade tree functions.
The Hazardous Tree Assessment and Removal Project, funded at $673,000, will be used within six counties hardest hit by past gypsy moth infestations − Atlantic, Burlington, Ocean, Monmouth, Sussex and Warren. The Forest Service will enter into contracts for the assessment and removal of hazardous trees in or near trails and campgrounds on Division of Parks and Forestry lands. The trees that have to be removed will be made available as firewood for campsites.
The Forest Service received an additional $135,000 to improve water supplies used to irrigate seedlings planted at the New Jersey Forest Nursery in Jackson and to plant seedlings to reforest state lands in Burlington and Salem counties. The seedlings grown at the nursery are used to reforest state lands and are distributed to community forestry programs throughout the state.
Funded at $175,000, the Ballinger Creek enhancement project in eastern Burlington County will establish grasslands and enhance wetlands on land owned by the Division of Fish and Wildlife for use by birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway.