When it rains, chemicals and other dangerous pollutants on our streets, parking lots, and roads get washed into storm drains and are funneled into our drinking water supplies and other waterways that our children play in.
This makes stormwater pollution one of New Jersey’s greatest threats to our clean drinking water, especially in towns that don’t have the resources to manage flooding.
Therefore, the following sponsors brought together the local exports and three of Lake Hopatcong mayors to educate the public and answer questions on what can be done to stop this threat to our drinking water and the health of Lake Hopatcong.
Sponsored by: New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, New Jersey Highlands Coalition, Lake Hopatcong Foundation, and Lake Hopatcong Commission.
Provided by Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters
Storm Water Utility – Flood Defense New Jersey, is a new tool for localities to start to address problems that affect water quality from water run-off or flooding.
Fact: 30% of the pollution in Lake Hopatcong is from Storm Water.
Gary Brune, New Jersey Future – Policy Manager
New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible growth, redevelopment and infrastructure investments to foster vibrant cities and towns, protect natural lands and waterways.
Stormwater utilities is a tool to manage stormwater in New Jersey more effectively. The Storm Water Utility provides the local community a tool that they can consider to manage their stormwater; it is not a requirement.
Stormwater utilities provide a mechanism for raising funds dedicated to stormwater management and create the opportunity for several implementation activities, including the construction, operation, and maintenance of stormwater infrastructure, and the development of related water quality programs and public education.
A stormwater utility, like a water and sewer utility, is an assessment district established to collect funds specifically for stormwater management.
The Storm Water Utility provides special assessments for towns to study impervious surfaces such as roads, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots.
Stormwater needs to be controlled since when it travels, it picks up pesticides, oil, grease, and other contaminants.
Implementation of Green Infrastructure helps reduce the amount of runoff that is reaching the lake.
The Stormwater problem is getting worse, for example, 2018 was one of the wettest year on record, and infrastructure is aging. Many towns are struggling with this issue.
Lisa J. Plevin, Executive Director, New Jersey Highlands Council
The New Jersey Highlands Council is a small State Agency created by the Highlands Act that is tasked with implementing the legislation and protecting the Highlands.
The New Jersey Highlands Council offer Stormwater planning grants to the 88 municipalities within the highlands area. The maximum grant is $15,000.
Three major components:
- Help map Stormwater Infrastructure, using a mobile application
- Help to develop a stormwater mitigation plan
- They also sit within the incorporation of amendments of your local stormwater control ordnances
The grant program helps ensure that municipalities meet and exceed the requirements of the DEP to ensure alignment with the Highlands Regional Master Plan.
The New Jersey Highlands Council is currently working with 13 municipalities on stormwater management.
Jefferson Township is currently working with its grant program and has completed their mapping and the effect of stormwater rainfall.
The New Jersey Highlands Council is working with the Lake Hopatcong Commission to update their watershed to a fall plan. This will allow the Lake Hopatcong Commission to take advantage of DEP Grants for infrastructure improvements.
Julia M. Somers, Executive Director of New Jersey Highlands Coalition
Produced the first handbook on Green Infrastructure for New Jersey
Green Infrastructure is building something like a rain garden that accepts run-off to all allow all of the pollutants to go out as the water, as the water goes back into the groundwater.
There are many sizes and forms of Green Infrastructure such parking lot run-off into a small lake that can be landscaped.
Green Infrastructure can help reduce pollutants.
Ron Smith, Chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Commission
Mayor Michael Francis of Hopatcong Borough
Mayor Michael Stanzilis of Mount Arlington
Question and Answer Session:
About the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters
New Jersey LCV is the statewide political voice for the environment. We elect environmentally responsible candidates to state and local offices, advocate for strong environmental policies, and hold our elected officials accountable to safeguard the health of our communities, the beauty of our state, and the strength of our economy.
About the New Jersey Highlands Council
The Highlands Council is a 15-member appointed body tasked with implementation of the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act of 2004. The Highlands Council is advised in its actions by its Executive Director, who serves as the chief administrative officer of the Council. The Executive Director is assisted by and oversees the operations of a professional staff of planners, science experts, geographic information specialists and administrative personnel, based in Chester, NJ.
About Flood Defense New Jersey
Is a coalition of state and local nonprofit organizations working to protect our communities from damaging floods and harmful stormwater pollution.
Unfortunately, frequent flooding is polluting our waters, causing millions of dollars of damage, snarling traffic, threatening drinking water and even endangering lives in New Jersey. Our counties, cities and towns need the support and resources to establish stormwater programs to address this growing threat. We are working across the state to help local communities set up flood defense programs to control flooding and reduce pollution. By building proven on-the-ground projects that protect against flooding, capture polluted runoff and repair failing infrastructure, we can help New Jersey communities become cleaner, greener and safer.
About New Jersey Future
Founded in 1987, New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible growth, redevelopment and infrastructure investments to foster vibrant cities and towns, protect natural lands and waterways, enhance transportation choices, provide access to safe, affordable and aging-friendly neighborhoods and fuel a strong economy. The organization does this through original research, innovative policy development, coalition-building, advocacy, and hands-on strategic assistance.
About New Jersey Highlands Coalition
Our mission is to protect, enhance and promote the vital water and other natural and cultural resources of the New Jersey Highlands to sustain current and future generations.
Specifically, our focus is on:
- Safeguarding the water resources, ecological integrity, biodiversity, and the cultural and scenic resources of the New Jersey Highlands.
- Promoting the implementation of a strongly protective Highlands Regional Master Plan.
- Faithful implementation of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, and the promulgated regulations of NJDEP and other agencies.
- Increasing local, state, federal and private sources of funding for land conservation and stewardship in the region, and promoting better planning, growth management and land acquisition strategies.
- Educating the public and decision-makers on, and serving as an information source for, New Jersey Highlands cultural and natural resource protection.
- Creating strong partnerships and alliances with organizations and individuals to effectively protect, preserve and enhance the New Jersey Highlands.
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