Resource Conservation and Development - 2009
Resource Conservation and Development - 2009
serving Sussex, Warren, Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon, Union Counties
North Jersey RC&D serves and is sponsored by the County Freeholders and Soil Conservation Districts of Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren Counties in New Jersey. Through partnerships with municipal, state and federal agencies, as well as many private entities, the North Jersey RC&D Council develops and manages grant-funded programs that promote the conservation and improvement of the region’s resources and protect the area’s quality of life.
Walnut Brook Project
Walnut Brook had major erosion concerns throughout Mine Brook Park in Raritan Township. North Jersey RC&D and project partners worked together to restore this reach of Walnut Brook for enhanced stream habitat and a safe environment for visitors. The project stabilized 670 feet of extremely eroded streambank neighboring a community park. Over 3,000 trees and shrubs were planted by volunteers to improve wildlife habitat. Additionally, a three acre wetland has been constructed.
Improved Economic Viability
North Jersey RC&D hosted several training sessions on Farm Energy Audits and Carbon training to help improve economic viability of local farms.
Agricultural Water Enhancement Program Cost-Share Project
RC&D $2 million proposal to the USDA-NRCS Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) was selected for funding. In addition to the AWEP direct cost-share to the farmers, RC&D worked with State and Local organizations to rally $1.1 million in matching funds to provide hands-on assistance and funding directly to farmers who are working to enhance regional water quality.
The River-Friendly Farm Program is a voluntary certification program designed to recognize farms that protect our shared natural resources through responsible management. Currently, farms in the Raritan River Basin are eligible to apply for the voluntary certification. North Jersey RC&D works with each individual applicant to plan, find funding for, and implement practices that help protect and enhance water quality in the Raritan River Basin, which provides drinking water for 1.5 million people.
Watershed Planning Projects
Watershed planning work was continued in the Musconetcong and Raritan River and a new project in the Paulins Kill was started. Through these projects RC&D is conducting scientific studies, identifying where restoration projects are most needed, as well as providing municipalities with tools they can use to improve their land-use planning efforts.
Stewardship of Open Space Program
The North Jersey RC&D launched the development of a new community-based public open space management program called the Stewardship of Open Space (SOS). The program will develop feasibility studies and business plans for the management of open spaces for future generations in the six counties we serve.
Farm Energy Audits
In June of 2009, North Jersey RC&D and South Jersey RC&D Councils trained five individuals to collect data for Farm Energy Audits. The training was performed by EnSave, Inc, the company that processes the data collected and creates the final audit report. Energy audit reports will show farmers where and how they can reduce their energy use.
serving Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Ocean, and Salem Counties
Diamonds Sparkle on South Jersey RC&D
The National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils (NARC&DC) awarded membership to SJRC&D in its prestigious nationwide Circle of Diamonds Program.
This distinction is awarded only to those Councils that have achieved high standards of excellence while exhibiting a strong commitment to the RC&D mission. Circle of Diamonds members are accountable for continuing to uphold the Council’s structure, process and outcomes, being required to meet specific benchmarks set forth in the Circle of Diamonds Program guidelines.
In 2009, the South Jersey RC&D complete its Friendly Farms Outreach Project contacting farmers in the Annaricken-Assiscunk-Barkers Brook watersheds to discuss Best Management Practices aimed at reducing the fecal coliform and phosphorus loads in streams within these watersheds. The Program’s Outreach Specialist, Rick Parenteau, was able to meet with around a third of the landowners that either owner or farmed approximately 75% of the land.
The Council took its Team Habitat program to the next level by winning two grants in 2009. The larger of the two, a National Fish and Wildlife grant for $50,000, allowed the Council’s Team Habitat Manager to “sell” the program to landowners and provide cost estimates. This resulted in 18 cost estimates to interested landowners and work on 7 projects in 2009. In all, the Team Habitat program generated $36,029 income in 2009, a two-fold jump from 2008.
Tour Des Farms
The Council held its third annual Tour des Farms bike ride in Burlington County. Developed as both a fundraiser for the Council, and a means of spotlighting local farm stands and the Burlington County Farmland Preservation Program, riders wound their way through picturesque agricultural landscapes while stopping along the way to purchase locally grown farm products. Over 240 riders enjoyed the great weather and cycled from farm to farm with “Farm Bucks” redeemable at the farm markets.