By Nickie Vanech, GSWA Intern
Kicking off Thanksgiving week, Environment New Jersey recognized Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, GSWA’s 2019 Gala honoree, for her support of New Jersey’s parks and open spaces. Rep. Sherrill is co-sponsoring the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act (H.R. 3195) whose objective is to “provide full, dedicated funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This legislation would guarantee the full, authorized $900 million for LWCF is not raided by the annual appropriations process,” securing money for important environmental projects. Rep. Sherrill describes the bill:
“I’m co-sponsoring the bill to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Act so we can preserve wildlife habits and ensure Americans have access to quality outdoor recreation, including sites in our community like the Loantaka Brook Reservation and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. I am pushing House leadership to secure full funding for the LWCF in spending negotiations with the Senate so we can preserve New Jersey’s open spaces for generations to come.”
This bill expands on a 2008 bill, which, since then, has permanently protected 1,500 acres of New Jersey’s land in the Highlands forests, including Kitchell Pond, and has provided funding to protect the land that includes five streams.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was created in 1965 to “protect national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests, and national wildlife refuges from development, and to provide matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects. Over the years, LWCF has also grown and evolved to include grants to protect working forests, wildlife habitat, critical drinking water supplies and disappearing battlefields, as well as increased use of easements.”
Loantaka Brook Reservation, the park where Rep. Sherrill was honored, is one of GSWA’s regular water quality monitoring sites. GSWA works to provide recreational activities and to ensure ongoing water quality and water protection. They monitor water quality throughout the year, collecting samples for water chemistry, biological integrity, and bacteria sampling. Beginning in 2018, Loantaka Brook, both above and below Kitchell Pond, was selected as one of the testing sites for their new microplastics study.
GSWA partners with the Morris County Park Commission at Kitchell Pond on an ongoing basis to protect and improve the water quality. With the help of volunteers, they remove aquatic invasive plant species and plant and maintain native vegetation around the pond. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act provides additional funding for parks, wildlife refuges, and national forests without need for appropriation and protects endangered species. GSWA is grateful to Rep. Sherrill for her continuing support of this vital legislation.
View the presentation video via FaceBook HERE.