Monmouth County Environmental Newsletter: October Edition


Ripe apples fill the trees at Grown in Monmouth Pick Your Own orchards.

Monmouth County Seal 2018

Monmouth County Environmental Newsletter:  October 2019

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Plastic Pollution

Upcoming MCEC Roundtable: The Problem with Plastics

Do you want to help reduce plastic pollution? Do you, your friends or neighbors struggle to understand what can and cannot be recycled? If so, join the Monmouth County Environmental Council for a roundtable event to discuss the "The Problem with Plastics." The event will include a tabling session focused on initiatives to reduce plastic pollution including successful municipal bans and outreach efforts, as well as a speaker session. Speakers include:  NY/NJ Baykeeper to discuss local microplastics research, the Monmouth County Assistant District Recycling Coordinator who will explain the County recycling process, as well as a representative from Atlantic Coast Recycling who will provide insight into the recycling market.

The Monmouth County Environmental Council will also present the latest Eco-Tips brochure focused on tips to reduce plastic consumption and understanding the recycling process. To view other Eco-Tips brochures, click here.

Want to be part of the event? If your environmental commission, Green Team or municipality has taken an action to improve recycling, reduce or ban single-use plastics or reduce litter we want to hear from you! We invite you to highlight your successes during the “Be Part of the Plastic Pollution Solution” tabling session. Participants will be highlighted in the November edition of the the Environmental Newsletter. Email Amber Mallm to be part of the tabling session and let your efforts shine.

Join the Monmouth County Environmental Council for "The Problem with Plastics," on October 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Monmouth County Agricultural Building, located at 4000 Kozloski Road, Freehold. This event is free and open to the public. For express sign-in at the event, email Amber Mallm to register.

Upcoming Environmental & Outdoor Events in Monmouth County:

Some activities require registration and/or fees:


Monmouth County Parks System Releases Draft Open Space Plan

The Monmouth County Park System has completed the draft, Monmouth County Open Space Plan 2019 and has begun seeking public comments. The Plan identified priorities for the land preservation program of the Monmouth County Park System and acts as a work plan reference guide for County budgeting for land acquisition. The Plan includes a summary of all park lands owned by the Monmouth County Park system and potential areas for acquisition and expansion. The Plan also considers climate change, rising sea levels and the protection of natural and historic resources. A PDF copy of the draft Plan is available on the Monmouth County Open Space Plan Update webpage for public review. Comments may be submitted to Paul Gleitz.

Hazelnut Group Photo

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to announce the partnership between the County’s Grown in Monmouth program and Rutgers NJAES to develop a hazelnut farmer demonstration research orchard. Source: Monmouth County.

Grown in Monmouth Partners with Rutgers to Open Hazelnut Demonstration Orchard

After more than 20 years of research and development, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural  Experiment Station (NJAES) has developed four cultivars of hazelnut tree plants resistant to a deadly fungal disease. Due to the disease called Eastern Filbert Blight, commercial hazelnut farms on the east coast no longer exist. Through a partnership between Rutgers NJAES and the Monmouth County Division of Economic Development's Grown in Monmouth program, Monmouth County is now home to the first hazelnut farmer demonstration research orchard east of Oregon. This September, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Rutgers NJAES cut the ribbon on the new orchard located at the Rutgers Cream Ridge Research Extension Center.

According to Rutgers, the world demand for hazelnuts is currently greater than the available supply and most products containing hazelnuts consumed in the U.S. are made with kernels from Turkey. The demonstration farm will allow farmers to learn how to grow hazelnuts locally and provide an opportunity for economic growth of locally sourced products. The farm will also act as site for hands-on learning experiences for Future Farmers of America, County 4-H members and Master Gardeners.  

Recent Environmental Bills

Bill A4492, as amended by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on June 10, 2019, proposes to establish the “Jersey Native Plants Program” in the Department of Agriculture. The bill requires the Department, in conjunction with the State Board of Agriculture, to develop a program that encourages and promotes the sale of New Jersey native plants at retail garden centers and nurseries; increases consumer awareness of the important role of native plants in the ecosystem through advertising campaigns and marketing programs; provides for the dissemination of information about the variety and availability of New Jersey native plants; and create a labeling program to identify plants as “Jersey Natives” similar to the Jersey Fresh and Jersey Grown programs.

Bill A5011, passed by the Assembly, received in the Senate and referred to Senate Environment and Energy Committee on June 10, 2019, proposes to prohibit the manufacture, sale and promotion of all consumer products containing microbeads. Currently, State law places a prohibition on personal care products with microbeads, and the federal "Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015" prohibits the manufacturing, packaging and distribution of rinse-off cosmetics containing microbeads. Bill A5011 expands on both of these laws by including all consumer products.

Sustainable Jersey Offers Grant Opportunity for Energy Projects 

Sustainable Jersey, with $150,000 in contributions from the Gardinier Environmental Fund, is offering a grant cycle for energy projects.  Sustainble Jersey registered municipalities and schools are eligible to apply for projects that deal with energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Two $30,000 grants and nine $10,000 grants will be awarded. To learn more and to access the online grant application,  click here. The application deadline is Thursday Oct. 31, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. 

Monmouth Conservation Foundation Expands Allaire State Park

This summer, Monmouth Conservation Foundation and the State, through the NJDEP Green Acres Program, purchased 190 acres to expand Allaire State Park. This preservation effort will protect some of the northern most pine barrens habitat, characterized by sandy acidic soil and plant life including rare moss, ferns, pitch pines, holly and laurel. The land is also habitat for species of of special concern including the hooded warbler, great blue heron, barred owl, wood turtle, cooper’s hawk and black crowned night heron. Learn more about this preservation effort as well as Monmouth Conservation Foundation here.