ANJEC will invest $60,000 assistance in public outreach efforts
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded a $60,000 cooperative agreement to the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC), Mendham, N.J., to educate the public on actions that can be taken individually and as communities to restore the health and beauty of the Passaic River and its watershed.Assistance funds are awarded by the EPA to focus resources and efforts on regional high-priority areas such as the Passaic River watershed, which covers 787 sq miles in New Jersey and 148 sq miles in New York. In recent years, the EPA and its federal and state partner agencies have initiated a number of actions to accelerate the pace of contaminated sediment cleanup in the lower Passaic River and restore the watershed’s natural resources.“We’re cleaning up the Passaic River and restoring its watershed,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. "This cooperative agreement helps empower Passaic River communities, governments, businesses and individuals to meet the challenge before all of us as environmental stewards of the Passaic River.”ANJEC is teaming up with Future City, Inc., the Lower Passaic Watershed Alliance, the Passaic River Institute at Montclair State University and the Ramapo River Watershed Intermunicipal Council to carry out this project, which starts in September 2008 and will take approximately one year to complete. ANJEC and its partners will use the funds to develop and disseminate outreach materials tailored for municipal environmental commissioners, local officials and the public.These materials will help raise awareness of the presence and value of watershed resources and events, reduce pollution, minimize wastes, improve environmental stewardship practices within the watershed and promote healthy communities by increasing public awareness of the risks of consuming contaminated fish and shellfish. Resource guides, displays and a project website will be produced and workshops will be held to train environmental commissioners, local officials, businesses and others on the various federal and state watershed restoration funding resources and programs potentially available to help their communities.For more information on the Lower Passaic River Restoration Project, visit www.ourpassaic.org  or www.epa.gov/region02/passaicriver . For more information about ANJEC, visit www.anjec.org .