Empowering Local Action

New development, particularly the construction of roads, parking lots, and buildings, can cause irreversible damage to streams, lakes, and wetlands. In New Jersey, land use decisions are made at the local municipal level, often by just the few appointed officials who serve on planning and zoning boards as well as the staff engineers and planners who support the boards. These decisions are made through a process of public hearings and comment, and every citizen has the right to participate in their own town.

Have you ever wondered what you can do to protect your watershed? Are you concerned that sprawl and industry are encroaching on important natural areas? Sometimes the best way to have an impact is to act locally.

One way to effect positive change is to become more involved in your local Environmental Commission. These commissions make decisions about how to control flooding, manage polluted stormwater, enact green infrastructure like rain gardens and avoid dumping fertilizers and other chemicals into our waterways.

Contact Sophie Glovier, Municipal Policy Specialist, for more information at [email protected] or at (609) 737-3735 x29.

Here is some background information to help you enact change in your town:

Understand the Value of New Jersey’s Freshwater Resources. Being able to articulate the economic value of streams, wetlands, and lakes is an important first step toward convincing local leaders that these resources need to be protected.

Learn About Local Policy Tools. Land use decisions are made through a formal process of master planning, zoning, and development review. Understanding the process for public comment can help you become a more effective, engaged citizen.

Help Us Collect Flooding Data. Tell us where you’ve observed flooding in Central New Jersey, and we’ll share this information with local decision-makers.

Check Out These Useful Web Resources. We’ve compiled a list of organizations, documents, and tools that can help you make a difference, whether you’re a private citizen, a local government official, or part of a nonprofit advocacy organization.

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