June 26th, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff
New Jersey Future summer intern MicKenzie Roberts-Lahti is the author of this article.
The City of Hoboken has received a $250,000 grant for the next phase of construction of Southwest Park. This grant, from the U.S. Department of Interior and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, will fund the engineering designs needed to transform a one-acre parking lot into a green park.
Southwest Park was the subject of one of several stories in New Jersey Future’s new report, Ripple Effects: The State of Water Infrastructure in New Jersey Cities and Why it Matters, that highlight how water infrastructure affects people. Stormwater management, especially in urban areas, is a growing problem in New Jersey because of the age of much of its water infrastructure. Hoboken is one of the 21 cities in the state that have combined sewer systems, meaning both sewage and stormwater are handled by the wastewater treatment plant. During heavy rain events these combined sewers overflow, causing local property damage and affecting water quality by sending dilute raw sewage into local waterways. Read the rest of this entry »
June 25th, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff
New Jersey Future summer intern Kevin Burkman is the author of this article.
The sixth annual Sustainable Raritan River Conference, “Valuing Natural Capital and Ecosystems Services,” focused on ecosystem valuation. Placing economic value on ecosystems is a concept that attempts to recognize the financial importance of natural systems such as forests, waterways, air and open space. These natural attributes provide important ecological services, including water and air purification, nutrient and sediment controls, pollination, and flood protection. Retaining or rehabilitating these “services” is key to reducing the substantial costs of mitigating the sometimes deleterious effects both nature and humans can have on the landscape. These ecosystem services may also generate new direct revenues.
Over a dozen speakers at the conference, including academics, professionals, conservationists and municipal leaders, discussed the importance of quantifying the values of natural systems and integrating them into the economy, planning, and human and environmental health.
Patricia Elkis, deputy director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), focused on a particular type of natural capital: open space. Her presentation, “Return on the Environment and Quantifying Economic Value of Protected Open Space in Southeastern Pennsylvania,” looked at that region as a case study and highlighted the economic and health importance of open space and trail systems. Read the rest of this entry »
July 2nd, 2014 by Marisa Dietrich
In July 2010, Monmouth County became the first New Jersey county to adopt a Complete Streets policy, modeled after the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT)’s own policy adopted in December 2009. Over the next four years, other counties and towns slowly began to adopt their own Complete Streets policies, many modeled on the state policy. New Jersey was also one of the first ten states in the nation to make Complete Streets an official internal policy. In June of this year, Hopewell became the 103rd municipality to adopt such a policy and the first municipality to do so via a Complete Streets ordinance. According to Township Administrator/Engineer Paul Pogorzelski, “We decided that this policy should be in the form of an ordinance and have the weight of law rather than simply be part of a resolution which does not transcend governing body changes.“
In amending and supplementing its general ordinance governing streets and sidewalks, the township declared that it was making a commitment to creating street corridors that will accommodate road users of all ages and abilities and will give consideration to all types of uses. Going forward, Hopewell promises to work to retrofit as many streets as possible so that they will be amenable to pedestrians, cyclists, and all types of vehicles and in order to make them feel safer for all users, including children, older citizens, and the mobility-challenged.Read the rest of this entry »
June 23rd, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff
Water woes and next steps — including special programs for low-income ratepayers — were the subject of a recent NJ Spotlight conference
With New Jersey facing an estimated $40 billion in costs over the next two or three decades to fix its aging water infrastructure, the state may need to set up a program to help lower income residents pay their escalating water and sewer bills.
There is little question those costs will increase for ratepayers, most panelists agreed at an NJ Spotlight roundtable in Trenton on June 20.
“It’s going to be expensive,’’ said Christopher Riatt, senior director of contract operations at United Water. “There’s going to be a great deal of backlash.’’ “The crisis is coming,’’ warned Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. “I promise you that.’’
June 18th, 2014 by Chris Sturm
Faced with a looming deadline, attendees at Jersey City meeting agreed on an “Agenda for Change” to catalyze the transformation of New Jersey’s aging urban water systems.
On May 20 and 21, at a convening organized by New Jersey Future, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, a group of 22 senior leaders from a broad range of organizations, including water utilities, environmental organizations, economic and community development organizations, the private sector and local governments, issued an agenda for change designed to transform New Jersey’s obsolete urban water systems.
“Everyone in the room agreed that this is one of the defining challenges New Jersey faces,” said New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach. “For many reasons, upgrading our cities’ water infrastructure has been put on the back burner again and again, but we are now at the point where we cannot postpone it further without hindering the state’s economic prosperity and making us less competitive both in the region and in the world.”
Final permits for the combined sewer systems in 21 New Jersey cities are to be issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection later this year, at which point the organizations that oversee those systems will have three years to submit detailed long-term control plans (LTCPs) for upgrading them. Currently the systems are overwhelmed more and more frequently by storms of increasing intensity, resulting in the discharge of raw sewage into waterways, basements, streets and neighborhoods. Needed upgrades will cost billions of dollars, as detailed in New Jersey Future’s recent report, Ripple Effects. Jurisdictions that fail to meet the deadlines for adopting and implementing these plans face the possibility of lawsuits and federal court sanctions. Read the rest of this entry »
June 18th, 2014 by Leah Yasenchak
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently announced that Little Egg Harbor Township and Tuckerton Borough have received a $2.13 million grant to install natural protections against sea level rise and storm events. In addition to helping both communities, the project will benefit several surrounding public-trust lands: the Mystic Island Natural Lands Trust, the E.B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, and the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve Wildlife Management Area.
The two communities are sharing resources cooperatively on multiple resiliency efforts. Each town has passed an agreement to work with New Jersey Future, via funding from the New Jersey Recovery Fund, to further resiliency through forward-looking land use planning. Read the rest of this entry »
June 5th, 2014 by Peter Kasabach
“Innovation districts” are economic development tools that utilize partnerships with higher education institutions, businesses, and government to fuel job growth and redevelopment in targeted locations. Innovation districts are based on the premise that collaboration and productivity result from proximity, and therefore job creation and innovation can be fostered through the intentional clustering of businesses, institutions, ideas and people. Innovation districts have been adopted by a variety of host cities in order to revitalize their communities and diversify their economies. Read the rest of this entry »
June 3rd, 2014 by Steve Nelson
The enormous impact of Superstorm Sandy is still being felt in dozens of communities across New Jersey, and with it a new understanding of the need to become more resilient to flooding hazards. Fortunately, a newly updated online tool is available and is being used to help communities take action to become less vulnerable and more prepared.
This tool – Getting to Resilience (GTR) – was developed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and enhanced by staff from the Jacques Costeau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR). It allows communities to assess how prepared they are for flooding, coastal storms and sea-level rise. Read the rest of this entry »
May 20th, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff
Leaders Explore Challenges and Opportunities for Revamping Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Infrastructure in New Jersey Cities
The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, New Jersey Future, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation convened a group of New Jersey leaders from water utilities, environmental organizations, economic and community development organizations, the private sector and local, state and federal government today to develop and issue an action agenda to catalyze the transformation of New Jersey’s urban water infrastructure.
The convening is informed by research conducted by New Jersey Future and Rutgers University, which focused on the 21 New Jersey municipalities that have combined sewer systems and experience combined sewer overflows (CSOs) during intense rainfall events. Discharges from these CSO events contain raw sewage and affect some of the state’s most iconic river systems – including the Hackensack, Passaic, Raritan, and Delaware rivers – polluting the environment and threatening public health.
Furthermore, additional pressure is being put on these systems by their cities’ recent resurgence. These 21 cities comprise nearly a fifth of New Jersey’s population and are projected to absorb much of the state’s future growth, presenting an opportunity for developers and cities to work together on creating water infrastructure that will meet this demand and support the revitalization of these cities into attractive settings for employers and residents. Read the rest of this entry »
May 14th, 2014 by Elaine Clisham
Two articles caught our attention recently, both of them about the importance of good transit to economic vitality.
In the first, chief executive officers of publicly-owned companies in the Tampa Bay area were asked what could or should be done to make the area more friendly to businesses. Their answer? Overwhelmingly, they wanted better transportation options for their workers, and specifically cited transit options as an important part of the mix. Read the rest of this entry »