Frelinghuysen: House Subcommittee Approves $2 Million for the Highlands Conservation Act and Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Working with limited resources, Interior Appropriations Subcommittee OK's $1 million for HCA and another $1 million to protect land in the Long Hill Township, Morris County portion of the Great Swamp
Washington, DC - Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) today announced the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee has approved $2 million to support implementing the Congressman's Highlands Conservation Act (HCA) and to preserve another portion of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Long Hill Township, Morris County.
"The Highlands Conservation Act was a step in the right direction for environmental preservation in New Jersey, and this funding moves us one step closer to achieving our goal of cleaner drinking water and more open space," said Frelinghuysen, the author of the Highlands Conservation Act and New Jersey s senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. "At a time when budgetary resources are limited, I'm appreciative that Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Charlie Taylor is hearing my concerns and supporting my fight for protecting the Highlands."
The subcommittee-approved Fiscal Year 2007 Interior Appropriations bill includes $1 million for the HCA. Stressing local responsibility and public/private partnerships, the HCA requires state and local governments from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut to identify "willing sellers" and prioritize land acquisition projects. As the Fiscal Year 2007 budgetary process goes forward, the Congressman will urge the Interior Subcommittee to direct funding for the HCA to a project(s) that is considered most in need of preservation.
"We applaud Representative Frelinghuysen for his leadership and commitment to protecting New Jersey's most important open spaces, recreational landscapes and wildlife resources for all to enjoy," said Alan Front, The Trust for Public Land s Sr. Vice President. "The $2 million included in the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee bill is critically important to the conservation of rapidly diminishing open space around the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, and represents the first ever appropriation to implement the Highlands Conservation Act. Given the severe budget constraints this year, most federal land conservation proposals across the country were left out of the bill, and only a small handful of national conservation priorities made the cut. Especially in this tough fiscal climate, what Congressman Frelinghuysen was able to do today for New Jersey is nothing short of miraculous."
The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is located 26 miles west of New York City amid the congestion of northern New Jersey s densely populated suburban areas. One million in funding for the Great Swamp will support Phase I of a project that preserves 30 acres in the Long Hill Township section of the Great Swamp. Approximately half of the parcel is wetlands. The site is surrounded on three sides by the refuge, and is home to the red shouldered hawk, wood turtle and the blue spotted salamander, all either threatened or endangered.
Frelinghuysen added, "More than $30 million has been secured for the New Jersey Highlands since 1995, and I'll keep up my fight until the region is protected for generations to come."