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EPA AWARDS $242,250 IN WETLANDS GRANTS TO NEW JERSEY

 EPA AWARDS $242,250 IN WETLANDS GRANTS TO NEW JERSEY
 NEW YORK, Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection


Agency (EPA) Region 2 office today awarded $242,250 in wetlands grants to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy (NJDEPE) and the New Jersey State Pinelands Commission (NJSPC) for wetlands projects in New Jersey. Four separate grants were awarded, three to NJDEPE and one to NJSPC.
 The three grants awarded to NJDEPE are for a Permit Delegation Study and Implementation Program, the Great Swamp Watershed/Water Quality Management Planning System and a Wetlands Mitigation Habitat Evaluation Study.
 "These grants give EPA the opportunity to support the efforts of states in the area of wetlands protection," said Constantine Sidamon- Eristoff, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "State programs are an integral part of the national effort to preserve wetlands -- one of our most precious resources."
 NJDEPE was awarded $48,000 for its permit delegation study which is designed to identify other jurisdictions within the state and local governments of New Jersey which may play a greater role in permitting, especially wetlands permitting. These other jurisdictions may include Soil Conservation Districts, Counties, Municipalities and the NJSPC.
 An additional $48,000 was awarded to NJDEPE's Great Swamp project which will focus on reforming management of the Great Swamp watershed in northeastern New Jersey.
 Ninety six thousands dollars was awarded to NJDEPE's wetlands mitigation habitat program. This study would test the effectiveness of NJDEPE's "success" criteria for wetlands mitigation, focusing on the ecological effectiveness of improving existing criteria for evaluating new wetlands.
 "These grants will allow the department to further our examination of some very important issues, including the impact of development surrounding environmentally sensitive sites, the effectiveness of wetlands mitigation and the environmental benefits of a streamlined permitting process," said NJDEPE Commissioner Scott Weiner.
 "Wetlands are obviously a valuable resource in New Jersey. We have enormous groundwater and surface water resources that are protected by the natural filtering that wetlands provide," the Commissioner added. "By focusing on wetlands mitigation, the NJDEPE will further strengthen its efforts to explore the potential of mitigation as a means to restore wetlands and to create viable new wetland areas."
 The NJSPC received $50,250 for its Pinelands Watershed and Delineation Method project. This study would develop wetlands "buffer zone" recommendations with a focus on water quality. Various "buffer zone" approaches would then be assessed for effectiveness.
 Pinelands Commission Executive Director Terrence D. Moore described the grant as an important component in New Jersey's continuing efforts to protect the resources of the Pinelands National Reserve.
 In addition to the New Jersey grants, EPA also awarded a $165,000 grant to New York State Department of Conservation for its Status and Trends Analysis wetlands project.
 Since the early 1980s, EPA has encouraged the development of state wetlands programs. In 1991, Congress, through EPA, provided funds for grants to 40 states, seven Indian Tribes and one Territory for 60 projects to help state agencies develop wetlands protection programs. This year, Congress appropriated $7 million to support this grant program, which reflects a 40 percent increase over last year's allotment.
 -0- 10/5/92
 /CONTACT: Mary Breitenbach of United States Environmental Protection Agency, 212-265-2515/ CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; New Jersey Department of
 Environmental Protection and Energy; New Jersey State Pinelands
 Commission ST: New York IN: SU:


TS-OS -- NY036 -- 6503 10/05/92 10:39 EDT
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Date:Oct 5, 1992
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