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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection


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Report Chapters (all in PDF)
arrow Air Toxics
December 2017
arrow Atmospheric Deposition: Acidity and Nutrients
November 2015
arrow Greenhouse Gas Emissions
October 2017
arrow Mercury Emissions
August 2017
arrow NOx and VOCs
March 2016
arrow Ozone
March 2016
arrow PM2.5
March 2016
arrow Vehicle Miles Traveled
March 2016
arrow Climate Change in NJ: Trends in Temperature & Sea Level
August 2017
arrow Energy Use & Renewable Energy Sources
August 2017
Open Space and Land Use
arrow Beach Replenishment
March 2010
arrow Land Use and Land Cover
August 2017
arrow Open Space Preservation
March 2016
arrow State Parks and Forests
December 2017
arrow Urban and Community Forests
September 2014
Pollution Prevention/Solid Waste
arrow Pesticides
December 2017
arrow Site Remediation
December 2017
arrow Solid Waste and Recycling
August 2017
arrow Beach Closings March 2016
arrow Dissolved Oxygen Levels in Coastal Waters
September 2014
arrow Drinking Water Quality
March 2016
arrow Estuarine Algal Conditions
September 2014
arrow Fish: Concentrations of Key Contaminants
September 2014
arrow Fresh Water Pollution: Streams: Ambient Biomonitoring Network & Fish Index of Biotic Integrity Network
August 2017
arrow Groundwater
December 2017
arrow Marine Water Pollution: Shellfish Waters
September 2014
arrow Surface Water Quality; Streams; Chemical and Physical Measurements
August 2017
arrow Water Supply
August 2017
Plants and Wildlife
arrow Endangered Plants
August 2017
arrow Wildlife Chapters
March 2016

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is charged with protecting the natural environment and those aspects of human health directly related to environmental factors. Historically this has meant controlling discharges to air, water and land, and working to both minimize and remedy the pollution of these media. Regulation of releases to the environment from point sources like waste discharge pipes and smokestacks, and the management of wastes themselves, have been particular focus areas. It has become increasingly clear that protection of the environment and human health requires a more comprehensive approach. Today, the DEP strives to protect and manage uses of land and other resources to ensure that not only future generations of people can thrive so to can wild plants, animals and their critical habitats. The DEP continues its efforts to preserve environmental resources including air, water, land, and healthy ecosystems.

Periodic assessments of environmental conditions can provide insight into the effectiveness of the DEP’s current efforts and offer guidance for future efforts. In monitoring and reporting on environmental conditions, it is useful to focus on measures, or indicators, of environmental health. Environmental indicators are quantitative measures of conditions and trends that are used to assess the state of the environment and natural resources and, where possible, to gauge progress towards specific goals. Indicators are necessary because the condition of an environmental factor, such as water or air quality, is often made up of many different components and it can be difficult or impossible to directly measure them all. The choice of measures is also limited to those environmental parameters for which there are accurate and appropriate data, preferably long-term data that can clarify and illustrate any trends that may exist.

Since 1998, the DEP has been updating “State of The Environment” reports that provide general information on trends and conditions for a variety of environmental factors that, together, comprise an overall assessment of our state’s environmental health. Currently, “New Jersey’s Environment Trends” consist of 39 chapters that cover Air, Climate/Energy, Open Space and Land Use, Pollution Prevention/Solid Waste, Water, Plants and Wildlife. Each chapter describes a specific area in which the DEP has been working to improve conditions and presents a specific environmental measure or category of measurements meaningful in gauging the current status of the environment in New Jersey. Chapters are updated on a rolling basis.

Some of these measures have been discussed in earlier DEP reports and the DEP believes it is important to continue tracking them. Reasonably good data exist for each of these measures. Where goals or end points are associated with a measure, these are presented. Some goals are expressed formally in laws or rules. For example, a clear-cut goal noted in the chapter “Ozone” is compliance with the federal ozone standard. Other measures can be compared with assumed or implied goals, such as a stable or increasing population of a wildlife species like the bald eagle. For example, in the chapter “Wildlife Populations: Bald Eagle,” the recently increasing population of these birds can be considered a positive development, despite the lack of a formal goal of a specific number of breeding pairs of these birds.

When compared with explicit or implicit goals, some trends are encouraging and show clear evidence of progress. Others reflect situations that appear to be worsening and challenges that lie ahead. Many trends reflect both current and past conditions and are subject to changes in the future due to factors that are, in some cases, poorly understood and beyond the direct control of the DEP.

There are a variety of ways that these chapters could be organized. No single framework suffices because environmental systems are interrelated, overlapping, and dynamic. For example, water quality is affected not only by discharges from point sources but by atmospheric deposition of pollutants from local, regional and national sources. Water quality is also affected by land use and, in some cases, by factors that affect water quantity, which in turn may be affected by global climate changes, which are in turn affected by human activity in a variety of ways, and so on.

You may download or review individual chapters of the report as discrete PDF documents using the index of chapters provided in the adjacent table.

A reference matrix is provided to help explain the relationship between different topic areas in order to view all pertinent chapters of the report.

The major categories in the matrix are air, water, land use, regional & global issues, public health, pollution prevention & solid waste, and wildlife. This matrix can help a reader to find those chapters that relate to a particular interest or subject area. Chapters that pertain to a particular category will have an “X” in the column corresponding to that category or categories. A first look at the marked chapters should help most readers focus on the specifics of their areas of interest.

Principal Authors: Sandra Goodrow, Ph.D.,
Nick Procopio, Ph.D.,

For comments or questions regarding this report, please contact Sandra Goodrow.

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Division of Science and Research
Dr. Gary A. Buchanan, Director
Mailing Address:
Mail code 428-01, P.O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 0862

Phone: (609) 984-6070
Fax: (609) 292-7340