TRENTON, NJ - Legislation sponsored by Sen. Kip Bateman, R-16th and Kristin Corrado, R-40th appropriating almost $34 million for the purchase of flood-prone properties and conservation has been passed by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

The measure would provide the NJDEP with funds constitutionally dedicated by the voters to purchase land for recreation, conservation, and Blue Acres projects to acquire property in flood-prone areas.

“As intended by the voters who made this a priority, the bill ensures these funds will be utilized for important projects to improve the quality of life for New Jersey residents,” said Bateman. “In towns like Manville and Somerville along the Raritan River in my district where flooding has almost become a way of life, this will help better manage vulnerable land and mitigate the impact of storm flooding.”

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Under the bill, more than $4.6 million is appropriated to DEP specifically to conserve land that has been susceptible to flooding and restore it for recreational use. Every municipality and county in the state is eligible to apply for the money.

“Across the state, we have seen the flooding and damage caused by storms like Sandy, Hurricane Irene and poweful nor’easters,” said Corrado. “Flooding in the Passaic Valley has become a chronic and costly crisis. This will help end the vicious cycle of flooding, fixing, fighting for insurance money, and flooding again. Helping DEP acquire homes built in areas that are prone to frequent flooding will return the land to its natural condition, protecting nearby homes and properties from future storm damage.”