PISCATAWAY, NJ - Somerset County Planning Director Walter C. Lane, AICP/PP, was among six champions of the Raritan River recognized for their good works at 11th annual Sustainable Raritan River Conference.

Three individuals and one organization received Sustainable Raritan River Awards at the June 7 awards ceremony held at Rutgers’ Richard Weeks Hall of Engineering. The annual awards recognize outstanding achievement in efforts to revitalize, restore and protect the Raritan’s resources and promote the area as a premiere place to live, work and raise a family.

Established in 2010, the awards promote innovation and energize local efforts to restore and protect the rivers, streams and habitat of the Raritan River and Bay.  They highlight extraordinary accomplishments and inspire other groups and individuals across the watershed to achieve comparable levels of excellence.

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The Leadership Award write-up for Lane, who joined the Somerset County Planning Board in 1998 and was named director five years ago, notes the following:

“Under Walter’s astute leadership since 2014, the Somerset County Planning Division is widely seen as a recognized planning leader in New Jersey. In his role as Planning Director, Walter has initiated and successfully implemented highly innovative and award-winning projects that support economic development while preserving vast amounts of open space and active farmland. The success of these efforts is due to his leadership and the collaborative working relationships he has established with all of the 21 municipalities in Somerset County, the Somerset County Business Partnership, state and regional agencies and a multitude of public- and private-sector partners.

“Walter has worked tirelessly to advance the County’s planning priorities. Many of the planning initiatives launched in Somerset County during the last several years address the key issues originally outlined in the Sustainable Raritan River Action Plan. These planning projects support efforts to preserve critical habitat, sustainable redevelopment, public access to the Raritan River, storm water management and resiliency.”

“This is well-deserved recognition of Walter’s leadership skills and planning expertise,” said Freeholder Brian G. Gallagher, planning liaison. “He leads a dedicated staff of top-notch planners who are known statewide for their excellent work.”

Other Sustainable Raritan River Award categories and winners are:

Public Education Award – Michele Bakacs, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Rutgers University

Citizen Action Award – Susan Edmunds, Mill Brook Guardian

Stewardship Award – Doriann Kerber, Councilwoman, Borough of Milltown

Citizen Action Award – James Lemieux, Student, Raritan Valley Community College

Government Innovation Award – Monmouth County Division of Planning – Naval Weapons Station Earle Partnership

For more information about the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative, visit http://raritan.rutgers.edu/the-initiative/about-the-srri/