New Jersey Audubon staffs and facilitates two successful coalitions, the NJ Keep It Green Coalition and the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, which combined represent over 300 organizations committed to protecting the natural resources of this region. Through coalition-building around “big tent” ideas and identifying partners in federal, state, and local government, we ensure that conservation is given greater consideration by our decision makers.
About the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed
The Delaware River is the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi, traveling 300 miles from its confluence in Hancock, NY down to the Delaware Estuary and Bay. This vast river system not only provides vital habitats for a rich variety of fish and wildlife species, but it also provides drinking water to approximately 13.3 million people (5% of the U.S. population), is home to more than eight million residents, and is critical to the economic well-being of the entire Mid-Atlantic region.
In 2012, New Jersey Audubon and the National Wildlife Federation teamed up to form the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW) to protect this critical resource. The Coalition raises awareness for this incredible resource by uniting over 170 nonprofits throughout the basin to share information, leverage resources, and effectively advocate for protecting and restoring the watershed.
Through its work on the Coalition, New Jersey Audubon has been at the forefront of major successful endeavors on federal policy. In 2014, the Coalition led efforts to bring partners together around the Farm Bill and collaboratively submit a proposal for the watershed that was awarded $13 million in funding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
In 2016, the Coalition had another key victory with the passage of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, which established the first-ever, federal program for the entire Delaware River Watershed. Following another year and half of sustained advocacy efforts, Congress approved $5 million in FY18 for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program and money can now finally flow to local conservation projects throughout the region. Through continued advocacy, funding for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program has grown to $6 million in FY19, $9.7 million in FY20, and $10 million in FY21. The Coalition continues to work to successful implementation of this program, as well as lead in other policy issues affecting the watershed, promote watershed-wide planning and collaboration, and advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice to ensure that all communities share equitably in the benefits of clean water.
About NJ Keep It Green
NJ Keep It Green (KIG) is an active coalition of more than 150 statewide, local, and regional organizations committed to land conservation, agriculture, historic preservation, environmental protection, urban parks, hunting and fishing, and other forms of outdoor recreation, working together to sustain and properly guide funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s waterways, wildlife habitat, natural areas, farmland, forests, parks, and historic sites for our quality of life and future generations. NJ KIG led efforts to pass statewide bond measures, such as those in 2009 and 2011, which together provided $600 million for the State Green Acres, Farmland Preservation and Historic Preservation programs.
Following these successes, NJ KIG led a campaign to secure a long-term, sustainable source of funding to ensure permanent protection of critical lands and waters throughout the state. In 2014, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to dedicate existing Corporate Business Tax funds to sustainably provide long-term open space, park, farmland, and historic preservation efforts. This measure will provide $1 billion dollars every 10 years for preservation and stewardship!
Following this tremendous victory, which provides a perpetual source of preservation funding, NJ KIG has subsequently led a successful campaign to pass legislation that will properly implement these funds and ensure they are dedicated to the preservation efforts voters intended. We continue to work toward additional legislation needed for proper fund implementation and to raise awareness for and appreciation of the open spaces, parks, preserved farms, and historic sites that provide NJ residents benefits such as the opportunity for recreation and relaxation, farm fresh foods, and a connection to our diverse and rich history. To learn more, visit NJ Keep It Green’s website at www.njkeepitgreen.org