(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association June 2002 Newsletter)
Immediate Release: April 22, 2002
GOVERNOR MCGREEVEY PROTECTS DRINKING WATER ON EARTH DAY
Trenton, NJ – On the shores of Round Valley Reservoir, New Jersey’s largest reservoir, the state’s five largest environmental and outdoor recreation groups today, Earth Day, joined Governor McGreevey and DEP Commissioner Campbell as they announced a major initiative to significantly strengthen protections of key waterways across the state.
“Governor McGreevey has given us lot to celebrate this Earth Day. This initiative, the latest in a list of very positive actions taken by the Administration to protect the environment, gives substantial new protections to the state’s last clean water sources. We look forward to working with the Administration to implement it,” said Dena Mottola, Acting Director of NJPIRG.
Prior to the announcement, special designation was applied narrowly to the state’s waterways, failing to protect 14 of the state’s 15 largest reservoirs and most of the state’s largest rivers and streams that serve as drinking water sources. The presence of trout reproduction was the primary factor in determining which New Jersey waterways receive special protective designation.
“The Governor’s announcement today represents a sea change from the Whitman Administration – factoring in public health, landscape, and stream ecology in developing protections for water supplies may seem like common sense, but until now, they were all too commonly ignored,” said David Pringle, Campaign Director of the New Jersey Environmental Federation.
“Anytime we protect streams, it enhances protection for fish habitat and the environment. The New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and the Jersey Coast Anglers Association are happy the Governor is taking the first step in upgrading more of New Jersey streams and working towards the goal of making all of New Jersey streams fishable,” said Tom Fote, Legislative Chairman of both groups.
“Congratulations to the Governor for protecting the water supply for millions of people in New Jersey. Now reservoirs will have more protection than a mud puddle in a parking lot. This will not only mean better quality water, but it gives us some tools to stop sprawl from affecting water quality in reservoirs,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
SIERRA CLUB, NJ JCAA NJPIRG NJEF NJSFSC
The Governor’s Earth Day Clean Water Initiative includes:
Immediate upgrades of 9 reservoirs and 4 stream or river segments to special protective status known as “Category One” under the state’s stream classification system. Under the federal Clean Water Act’s anti-degradation policy, the state must give special protections to water segments and reservoirs it deems Category One. The quality of Category One reservoirs and water segments must be maintained. No permit may be granted that would measurably or calculably change their quality.
The launch of a longer, 6-9 month process that will result in a more comprehensive list of waterways across the state that will receive the special designation (Category One) and the substantial protections that come with the designation. In the process of identifying waterways for special designation, the DEP will consider a range of criteria, especially the use of the waterway as public water supply, habitat for threatened and endangered species, and other environmental values that the waterway embodies.
A commitment to integrate Category One protections throughout all the state’s several major water regulatory packages, when they are considered for updates. The state has at least six major regulatory packages related to water, including: ground water, storm water, surface water quality standards, watershed management, site remediation, and water allocation. The DEP has already begun considering updates to the storm and ground water rules and will be considering changes to the watershed management rules later this year.
The Governor’s Initiative will not only deliver cleaner water, but establishes the necessary tools to limit development in certain places where it is inappropriate.
Protection of critical waterways is the best way to curb development in certain places where it isn’t appropriate and encourage smart growth. The Category One designation of a water segment triggers the establishment of a buffer zone around it to ensure that the quality of the waterway is not degraded. Development near waterways is the single biggest factor in water degradation, burdening waterways with nutrients and bacteria from sewer discharge and urban run-off. 65% of New Jersey waterways assessed by the DEP violate the state’s standard for phosphorus and nearly all waterways assessed violate the standard for fecal coliform (bacteria).
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