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NJ Keep It Green praises Green Acres funding


New Jersey Conservation Foundation
TRENTON - NJ Keep It Green, of which New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a member, today praised the Garden State Preservation Trust for approving $123 million in funding for projects throughout the state that will protect open space, provide parks and safeguard drinking water supplies.

"NJ Keep It Green is pleased that critical funding for Green Acres land, water and park projects is moving forward," said Tom Gilbert, NJ Keep It Green chairman. "Once approved by the Legislature and Governor, these dollars will leave a legacy of open space and clean water for future generations."

The money represents the last of the Green Acres funds from the 2009 bond referendum, which voters approved to allocate $400 million for open space, farmland and historic preservation projects throughout the state.

"The funds from the 2009 bond issue have supported park and preservation projects in all 21 counties throughout the state," said Kelly Mooij, NJ Keep It Green coordinator. "However, significant needs remain, underscoring the importance of identifying a long-term, sustainable source of funding for preservation and stewardship of New Jersey's open spaces, waterways, parks, farmland and historic sites."

New Jersey has approximately 1 million acres (20 percent of the state) that are still unprotected and developable. Too many communities still lack access to quality parks close to home, and hundreds of thousands of acres of priority lands remain unprotected in the Highlands, Pinelands, Barnegat Bay and elsewhere.

According to a 2012 poll, 75 percent of New Jersey voters would support dedicating $200 million annually for 30 years to preserve our open space, protect our water supply, and preserve our farms and historic sites.
Additionally, research indicates that every $1 dollar invested in state land preservation efforts returns $10 in economic value.

NJ Keep It Green is a coalition of more than 170 park and conservation advocates working to create a long-term, dedicated source of funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey's natural areas, waterways, parks, farmland and historic sites. NJ Keep It Green led successful campaigns to pass statewide ballot measures in 2006, 2007, and 2009 generating $600 million for state open space, farmland and historic preservation programs.

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