In 2009, New Jersey voters approved a bond referendum that provided $400 million in open space, farmland and historic preservation money. Early this year, Governor Christie signed bills allocating $123 in Green Acres and Blue Acres funding and $79.5 million in farmland preservation money for projects throughout the state. This was the last of those $400 million! There is no more.
About 1 million acres of land in New Jersey is still unprotected from development. Much of this acreage contains valuable habitat and, in order for agriculture to remain viable in the state, an additional 350,000 acres of farmland need to be preserved. Clearly, a sustainable source of preservation funding is needed.
We urge you to support the efforts of the NJ Keep It Green Campaign to secure a long-term dedicated source of funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s natural, recreational, agricultural and historic treasures for generations to come. The goal is at least $200 million per year for a minimum of 30 years. Two steps lie before us: First, we must convince our legislators by the end of June to put a referendum on the November ballot and, second, we must convince the voters to approve it.
How can you help? Weigh in by signing the Sustainable Funding Statement of Support at www.NJKeepItGreenorg. Washington Crossing Audubon is one of more than 175 member organizations in the Keep It Green Coalition. “Like” the Campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NJKeepItGreen. Consider making a contribution to the Campaign on their website and, finally, contact your New Jersey legislators. Find their contact information at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp.