New Jersey Governor Phil
Murphy announced that his administration will distribute more than $13 million
to fund a new initiative to reduce and prevent future harmful algal bloom
outbreaks in New Jersey. The program will fund science-based prevention,
mitigation, study and response efforts across the state.
In 2019, there were more
than 70 suspected and 39 confirmed harmful algal blooms in New Jersey, which is
higher than the previous two years. The new initiative includes:
•$2.5 million available as
matching funds for lakes and harmful algal bloom management grants, including
treatment and prevention demonstration projects. The Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) will issue a request for proposals in December
and will offer a 100 percent match, resulting in $5 million in total projects.
• Up to $1 million in
Watershed Grant funding available for planning and projects that reduce the
nonpoint source pollution, including nutrients, that contribute to harmful
algal blooms in surface waters of the State. A match will not be required but
will improve the project ranking.
• $10 million in principal
forgiveness grants through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for half of the
cost, capped at $2 million, of sewer and stormwater upgrades to reduce the flow
of nutrients to affected waterbodies.
The initiative will establish
a team of experts from across various sectors to evaluate the state’s strategies
to prevent harmful algal bloom outbreaks and pursue additional monitoring,
testing and data management capacity.
The initiative also
increases the Department of Environmental Protection’s ability to communicate
with affected communities. The Department will host two regional harmful algal
bloom summits in early 2020 to better share information ahead of the warmer
months when harmful algal blooms begin to appear. To assist with this effort,
the Department will also develop new web tools to better communicate HAB incidents.
The Department will continue to assist local governments with stormwater and
septic discharge compliance and investigate facilities near waterbodies to
ensure compliance with discharge permits.