The Garden State Preservation Trust has approved $188 million for a vast array of projects to acquire or develop facilities at state and local parks; preserve farms statewide; and save critical historic sites.
This is the largest funding package since 2014, when voters approved a constitutional amendment to dedicate money from the corporation business tax for these purposes. This year, a 6% share of the CBT goes to open space, conservation and historical and environmental programs.
The largest piece of the pie was $78 million in grants to counties, cities and towns to pay for 48 land-acquisition projects and 66 recreational development or stewardship projects. The state’s Green Acres Program will spend about $34 million for its own land acquisitions statewide, including $4.6 million to continue buying out flood-prone properties under the Blue Acres program.
A key element of the package is $36 million for the improvement or rehabilitation of facilities and infrastructure at New Jersey’s state parks, forests and wildlife refuges.
The Farmland Preservation program will get $55 million, its largest funding package in a decade. Some of the money will go to matching grants to encourage landowners to improve soil conservation and irrigation on farms that have already been preserved.