DEP announces $570,000 in forestry grants

TRENTON – Twenty-six towns and other entities will share in $570,000 worth of forestry grants, the state announced.

The grants will go to municipalities, several residential associations, and Rutgers University, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

The program’s goal is to promote community stewardship of forests, help prevent wildfires, and restore lands damaged by the southern pine beetle.

“To maintain and improve our forests, it really does take a concentrated effort on the local level and these grants give communities a financial boost to help make that happen,” said Lynn Fleming, director of the State Forestry Service, in a release.

A maximum of $20,000 is awarded to each recipient, with each community providing a 50 percent matching contribution.

The municipalities awarded grants of $15,000 to $20,000 include the following:

*Bergenfield, Berkeley Heights, Byram, Camden, Edgewater;

*Englishtown, Florence, Garfield, Haddon Heights, Haddonfield;

*Hoboken, Irvington, Merchantville, Mount Holly, Paramus;

*Pequannock, Red Bank, River Edge, Riverton, Roseland;

*And Southampton, Spring Lake, Stratford, Washington (Burlington County), West Orange and Woodbine.

Community Wildfire Protection Plan grants of $5,000 were awarded to Manchester and Hardwick to develop wildfire protection plans. In this case, the communities contribute a 100 percent match to the grant.

Rutgers University will receive a $50,000 Community Firewise Grant, while residential organizations, including Horizons at Barnegat Homeowners Association in Barnegat, Victoria Crossing Community Association in Egg Harbor, and Free Acres Association in Berkeley Heights will each receive $5,000, the DEP said.

These are also matched dollar for dollar by the recipients.

A $10,000 Wildfire Community Assistance Grant was awarded to the Horizons at Woods Landing Homeowners Association in Mays Landing for pine beetle suppression.

Most of the funding comes from a state Community Stewardship Incentive Program, which assists municipalities in implementing forestry management.

DEP announces $570,000 in forestry grants