Streams and Rivers

New Jersey contains 18,126 miles of rivers and streams which are a critical natural resource. Our waterways are the source of about half our drinking water, support agriculture and industrial uses, and provide scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, and wildlife habitat. In New Jersey water quality, quantity, and stream habitat all continue to decline as we build and rebuild in floodplains, encroach upon riparian buffers, and increase our water use.  Environmental commissions play a critical role in protecting waterways by gathering information, educating the public, and working within the municipality to support good planning.

 
Resources
Protecting our Streams  (ANJEC Resource Paper)
New Jersey Rivers (ANJEC Info Sheet)
Regulating Stream and River Flooding (ANJEC Info Sheet)

Plastic Pollution (Pollution)

Plastic bags have become ubiquitous, and are taking a toll on our environment and our economy. According to the EPA, between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year, and each of those bags is used for an average of 12 minutes. NJ residents use 4.4 billion plastic bags each year. These bags, which never fully break down, end up in our landfills, parks, beaches, along roadways, parking lots, and in our waterways. Disposable bags are harmful, wasteful, and unnecessary. People around the world are now choosing a sustainable alternative; reusable bags.

As of November 4, 2020,  Governor Murphy signed into law the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.  On May 4, 2022, both plastic and paper single-use bags, as well as disposable food containers and cups made out of polystyrene foam, were banned, with some exemptions (bags wrapping raw meat, polystyrene butcher trays, produce bags, newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, prescription bags and bags holding fish or insects from pet stores).   Stores less than 2,500 square feet can still provide paper bags.  The new law also restricts food-service businesses from handing out plastic straws, unless specifically requested by a customer, which became effective in November 2021.

ANJEC ‘s website NJNoplastics provides more information on the law and resources for residents, businesses and municipalities.  NJDEP also has a website GetPastPlastics for more information

Publications (ANJEC Services)

ANJEC has a large selection of publications available in digital and print versions.  Click here for a list of popular requested publications.

Brownfields (Pollution)

A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.  These sites that have been contaminated and cleaned can be used for various land uses.  For more info on remediating and redeveloping brownfields click here.

More information about Brownfields and redevelopment can be found at the Office of Planning and Advocacy and the NJ Brownfields Assistance Center

Membership (ANJEC Services)

ANJEC invites municipal Environmental Commissions, Environmental Committees, Green Teams, Open Space Committees, Planning Boards, Shade Tree Commissions, or other interested local boards to join as members. Membership includes free trainings for all local officials and discounts on the Environmental Congress and publication purchases.

Click here for more information.

Contact info@anjec.org to sign up for membership.

ANJEC Road Shows

ANJEC will prepare an individual workshop for your environmental commission with your choice of one or two topics, time and location.

Workshops will not be scheduled for July, August or December.  Contact info@anjec.org to request your customized environmental commission training.

Commission Operations (Government)

Effective environmental commissioners are the local heroes for natural resources in the community.  Environmental commissions work on many issues, including open space preservation, land use issues including smart growth, wetlands and water resource protection, green infrastructure, recycling and litter, environmental cleanups, flora and fauna habitat protection, energy efficiency and conservation and transportation.  They work with local officials to help revitalize their communities.

More about Environmental Commissions can be found here.

 
Resources
Environmental Commissioners Handbook (ANJEC)

ERIs (Land Use)

The Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI), or Index of Natural Resources, is a compilation of text, tables, maps, and other visual information about the natural resource characteristics and environmentally significant features of an area. Traditionally called “Natural Resources Inventory,” the title “Environmental Resources Inventory” is now commonly used, reflecting the addition of manmade features to the inventory, such as historic sites, brownfields, and contaminated sites.  Municipal environmental commissions should create and update the municipal Environmental Resource Inventory  (or NRI, Natural Resource Inventory) every 10 years at a minimum.

ERIs/NRIs bring together information on natural resource characteristics and environmental features. The ERI/NRI enables environmental commissions and open space committees to play a significant role in municipal master planning, land use ordinance development, and site plan review

 
Resources
ERI  (ANJEC Resource Paper)

Pesticides/IPM (Pollution)

Pesticide use can be limited and used in ways to protect clean water and still keep pests away from homes and food sources. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) aims to control insects and diseases while minimizing economic, health, and environmental risks.  New legislation passed in 2022, has now classified neonicotinoid pesticides as restricted-use only, prohibiting outdoor, non-agricultural use of this pesticide. More information on this law can be found here


Be informed! click here to sign up for the ANJEC newsletter

X