(The Center Square) – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed legislation to allocate $10 million for lake conservation and management efforts.
The money will, in part, help mitigate harmful algal blooms, which have prompted the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to close beaches in the Garden State.
The measure, A-5778/S-3618, will prioritize projects that involve lakes with public access.
“Our lake communities have been devastated in back-to-back years by the financial impact of algal blooms and the coronavirus pandemic,” state Sen. Steven Oroho, R-Sussex, said in an announcement. “After they’ve suffered so much, it is even more important that the State step up to meet the need. Now that this substantial appropriation has been approved, we have critical new resources to help these important lakes remain healthy and open to the public.”
Under the law, the DEP must prioritize grant applications that improve water quality and increase recreational access. This includes efforts to control nutrient levels in lakes to prevent algal blooms.
“Businesses and communities surrounding our state lakes cannot afford another shutdown, whether it’s due to the Covid pandemic or harmful algal blooms,” state Assemblyman Hal Wirths, R-Sussex, said in an announcement. “This law ensures we are making smart investments in programs that will preserve our freshwater lakes for the recreational enjoyment of tourists and the economic prosperity of lakefront business owners.”