New Jersey Audubon’s Government Relations Team Is The Leading Policy Voice For Making New Jersey A Better Place For People And Wildlife.

Our department’s efforts leverage the incredible expertise found throughout our organization to inform sound environmental policy with a solid foundation in science and research, that advances New Jersey Audubon’s mission and enhances the reach of our on-the-ground efforts.

Through coalition-building and identifying partners in State, local, and federal government, we ensure that conservation is given greater consideration by our decision makers. New Jersey Audubon leads 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.

Government Relations Resources

A few of our recent accomplishments

  • Secured permanent funding in the amount of $2 billion every 20 years for preservation and, for the first time ever – stewardship – of NJ’s open space, parks, farmland, waterways, and historic sites
  • Raised awareness of the Delaware River Watershed through passing the federal Delaware River Basin Conservation Act and helped bring additional conservation funding to the region, including $5 million for the new Delaware River Restoration Program and $13 million of Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) funds
  • Built support for federal policies directly effecting NJ and our wildlife like the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
  • Spearheaded pioneering state-legislation to save our state’s important pollinators including protecting native bees from pesticide applications and creating habitat for monarchs
  • Defended our fragile shorebird species by protecting horseshoe crabs and their nourishing supply of eggs
  • Protected NJ’s valuable forested habitats through supporting science-based forest stewardship policy including prescribed burning legislation and the Forest Stewardship Act.

Making a difference in the upcoming year!

  • Providing leadership and guidance on critical environmental issues facing New Jersey for the incoming Administration
  • Advancing a package of bills that support native habitat and pollinators, as well as limit use of invasive species
  • Protecting NJ’s clean water supply and our rivers, lakes, and streams through the coordination of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed
  • Defending essential staff and programs in the NJ Department of Environmental Protection that give families access to wildlife and the outdoors
  • Protecting access to parks and natural areas for all citizens

Webinar Series on Healthy Forests

Government Relations Blog

10th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, staffed by New Jersey Audubon and executed in partnership with National Wildlife Federation, held its 10th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum from November…

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Snapshots in History: Black Environmentalists

By Kip Le Warn, Engagement Coordinator, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed To celebrate Black History Month this February, take some time to learn about historical figures and groups in…

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Reflecting on Successful Advocacy:  NJ’s Comprehensive Plastics Law

By Dini Checko, Project Director, ANJEC; Sandra Meola, Director, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed; and Alex Ambrose, Policy Associate, ANJEC It’s official. New Jersey is now home to the…

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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.

Visit the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed website to learn more

NJ Keep It Green Coalition

New Jersey Audubon serves as the critically important Coordinator for NJ Keep It Green (KIG), 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 for 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.

Visit the NJ Keep It Green website to learn more

Staff & Personnel

Kelly Knutson
Director, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed

Meagan Schaefer
Outreach & Communications Manager

Ellen Underwood
Engagement Coordinator

Contact Us

TEL: 609-427-3007[/div]