On September 24, 2021, Governor Murphy signed a new law, effective immediately, that will allocate $10 million for lakes in New Jersey impacted by harmful algal blooms (P.L.2021, c.225). The law calls for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) to make a supplemental appropriation of $10 million for grants for lake management for conservation and recreational purposes.
Under this law, grants are available only for lakes accessible to the general public. The law defines “qualified entities” to include the Greenwood Lake Commission; the Lake Hopatcong Commission; an entity established as a joint meeting surrounding a publicly accessible lake for the management of the lake (including, but not limited to, the Deal Lake Commission or the Lake Topanemus Park Commission); or a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is the management of a publicly accessible lake.
Grant funds may be used for:
- Projects that improve water quality and increase recreational access use of lakes, including projects to control nutrient levels in lakes to prevent future harmful algal blooms; and
- Stormwater and nonpoint source pollution activities that will improve or protect the use of a lake for recreation purpose.
The NJDEP is directed develop an application by which a qualified entity may apply for a grant, as well as application ranking criteria. The NJDEP is required to provide notice of the grant funding program on its website. As of this writing, the announcement has not yet been made on NJDEP’s website.
The presence of the algal blooms has deterred tourists and residents from certain lakes, including Greenwood Lake and Lake Hopatcong. Both lakes were subject to closure at times during the past two summer tourist seasons. This post is a supplement to our prior blog post on January 9, 2020, “Funding Available to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms,” which provides more background on the hazards associated with harmful algal blooms.