The mission of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) is to promote local action
to protect and restore New Jersey’s natural resources and ensure equitable, healthy communities.
ANJEC advances its mission by engaging in diverse and inclusive practices through leadership, partnerships, education,
advocacy for strong public policy and support of environmental commissions, public officials, and communities throughout New Jersey.
Education Programs and Resources
- Information, guidance, and referrals from our knowledgeable Resource Center staff;
- A wide variety of environmental education courses, workshops and webinars throughout the year;
- The quarterly ANJEC Report, plus the biweekly ANJEC News. a biweekly environmental news digest delivered via email newsletter;
- Handbooks, resource papers and manuals; for local environmentalists;
- The annual Fundamentals for Environmental Commissions Training offered each spring;
- The annual Environmental Congress, our educational conference offered in October;
- The annual Fundamentals for Effective Environmental Commissions training offered in Spring
ANJEC advocates for strong environmental policy in New Jersey. ANJEC takes positions on statewide environmental issues and represents environmental commissions at the regional and state level. Some recent examples of this work include the successful passage and implementation of the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, passage of the Recycled Content bill, and establishment of the Environmental Justice Law.
Open Space Stewardship Grants for Environmental Commissions
Each year, ANJEC offers grants of up to $1,500 to municipal environmental commissions for Open Space Stewardship Projects. Over 2 million dollars in funds have been granted to approximately 300 municipalities to support countless local projects. These grants help to empower environmental commissions towards reaching their open space stewardship goals. Projects often include trail improvements, rain gardens, community education, and much more. Grant availability and deadlines are announced annually, typically in the spring.
Program Work and Specialized Staff Expertise
ANJEC’s staff leads program efforts in the following top priority areas by providing knowledge and expertise to a variety of collaborative efforts through the state. Top priority areas and projects include:
- Combatting the Climate Crisis
- Ending Plastic Pollution
- Advancing Environmental Justice
- Restoring Water Quality and Managing Stormwater Runoff
Combatting the Climate Crisis
ANJEC supports Environmental Commissions (ECs) to enhance climate resiliency and the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Impact strategies include:
- Encouraging local communities to adopt a Municipal Climate Hazard Vulnerability Assessment to the land use element of the municipal master plan.
- Educating and encouraging the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources such as responsible off-shore wind, community solar, and electric vehicles.
- Educating, encouraging, and supporting communities that are combatting increasing stormwater challenges due to climate change. Strategies include initiating and supporting green infrastructure projects, as well as educating and supporting communities interested in adopting stormwater utility as a dedicated and equitable source of funding for stormwater challenges.
- Teaching environmental commissioners how to get involved in the Master Plan process and help set environmental goals for the community.
- Introducing environmental commissioners to new tools to help protect their communities – NJ Conservation Blueprint, NJDEP Geoweb, NJ Flood Mapper, Municipal Snapshots, NJ Forest Adapt
Ending Plastic Pollution
From generation to disposal, plastics are connected to human/wildlife health, climate and environmental justice concerns. Approximately 90% of single-use plastics are made from fracked gas and 40% of plastics are used only once. Plastics manufacturing and incinerators emit known carcinogens and are frequently located in communities with a majority of residents who are low-income and minorities.
Impact strategies include:
- Empowering ECs towards successful implementation of Plastic Pollution Reduction Act through education, serves on the State Plastics Advisory Council, and hosts an educational website NJNoPlastics.org
- Advocating and coordinating the implementation the Recycled Content Law by ensuring adequate recycling and access to post-consumer recycled content.
- Educating and advocating for Extended Producer Responsibility bill that will increase recycling rates by holding manufactures responsible with environmental standards for packaging and providing financial relief for taxpayers and consumers.
Advancing Environmental Justice
As defined by the Unites States Department of Environmental Protection, Environmental Justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. ANJEC works to educate environmental commissions about EJ and how fair treatment and meaningful involvement can be achieved in their community through environmental actions.
Impact strategies include:
- Hosting continuous education opportunities on EJ, diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Empowering and educating ECs to examine local zoning and planning and how it contributes to environmental injustice or advances EJ.
- Listening to and amplifying voices of residents from overburdened communities in local decision-making through ANJEC staff leadership in various regional initiatives including, but not limited to: Sewage Free Streets and Rivers, Stormwater Stories, Adopt a Catch Basin work and GI initiatives in Newark and Paterson; green infrastructure work in Delaware River Watershed Coalition (DRWI), and Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI). Working with the Nature Conservancy as lead, our Paterson Flood Fighters group applied for and received a grant for $354,893 to implement a community-based green infrastructure initiative in the City of Paterson. This initiative will result in stormwater management features that will reduce the frequency of combined sewer overflows, sewer backups into private properties, nuisance flooding, as well as decrease the surcharging of sanitary sewers in the city.
Restoring Water Quality and Managing Stormwater Runoff
Non-point source pollution (fertilizer, oil, pesticides, sediment etc) from stormwater runoff is one of the greatest threats to our rivers, streams and drinking water sources. This is exacerbated with increased frequency and intensity of storms and increased development. ANJEC supports and works with ECs and municipalities to strengthen their ordinances to better manage stormwater and protect local water quality.
Impact strategies include:
- As a founding member of the Flood Defense NJ coalition, ANJEC advocates, educates, and provides guidance on the establishment of stormwater utilities for communities suffering from inadequate stormwater infrastructure and maintenance.
- Providing education and advocates for green infrastructure, raising community awareness, and supporting local stewardship to improve local water quality.
- Advising on State distribution of Federal Bipartisan Instructure Funds for Lead in drinking line and solder replacement, and green infrastructure funding to reduce the impact of climate change flooding – in alignment with CDRW, asking for 40% of funds to be directed to low-income and minority communities.
- Supporting local communities to increase community education and outreach regarding Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) communities in order for them to have increased public participation in the CSO permitting process and in the development and implementation of the Long Term Control Plans (LTCPs).
- As a member of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, ANJEC is working with our partners to conserve and restore waterways that supply drinking water to 15 million people in NJ, NY, PA and DE.
- Working in South Jersey as part of the DRWI has resulted in the installation of 20 Green Infrastructure projects adverting over 1.9 million gallons of stormwater per year in the Salem and Menantico watersheds.
- Contributing to the South Jersey Landscape Makeover Program, making Green Stormwater Infrastructure installations, such as rain gardens, possible for municipalities across south jersey.