Open Space Funding
Pinelands Preservation Alliance is an active member of the New Jersey Keep it Green Coalition (KIG), which represents more than 175 statewide, local and regional organizations committed to land conservation, agriculture, historic preservation, environmental protection, urban parks, hunting and fishing, and other forms of outdoor recreation, working together to sustain funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey's waterways, wildlife habitat, natural areas, farmland, forests, parks and historic sites for our quality of life and future generations.
NJ KIG Coalition’s goal is for the state to establish a stable funding source for the preservation of open space, farmland, historic properties, and the purchasing of flood-prone properties. The state has officially run out of money for all of these acquisitions in 2012. In addition, many of the parks, natural areas and historic sites that have been protected are suffering due to a chronic lack of funding to care for these special places, especially in urban areas, that have diminished the ecological, recreational and historic values they are intended to protect. This lack of funding has resulted in a steady decline in services and maintenance, a backlog of over $200 million in needed repairs, and reduced staffing at state parks and other public lands.
Why is this important to the Pinelands?
The State Pinelands Area features some of the largest unbroken tracts of forest in the eastern U.S and is home to 43 threatened or endangered animal species and 27 wild orchid species. The Pinelands lies above the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer which contains an estimated 17.7 trillion gallons of water. It is a surficial aquifer which leaves it very susceptible to contaminants and requires greater protections from over-development of land. Although 415,000 acres of the Pinelands Area have been preserved as open space, the Pinelands Commission identified approximately 333 locations totaling 64,947 acres through its Ecological Integrity Assessment that are considered high ecological integrity zones and in need of greater protections or acquisition.
The Coalition also supports payment in lieu of taxes for municipalities that predominantly consist of preserved lands. Coalition members are working together to discuss opportunities for re-instatement of these payments at initial funding levels.
There are many opportunities for individuals, organizations and companies to support this effort.
- Every person can show their support for sustainable source of funding by signing on to the statement of support at http://njkeepitgreen.org/supportform.htm
- Organizations, small or large, are welcome to become a free member of the coalition - http://njkeepitgreen.org/endorsementsform.htm
- Companies or other organization who wish to endorse the campaign without becoming a member , visit http://njkeepitgreen.org/endorsementsform.htm
Municipalities and counties can also show their support by passing a resolution. The League of Municipalities officially supported the campaign with the passage of a league resolution in fall 2012.
It is important that all of New Jersey work together to ensure that sustainable funding is created in 2013. Residents of New Jersey time and again have voted in favor of funding since 1961!
For additional ways to get involved, visit NJ KIG website.