Clean Water & Air

Clean water and clean air are essential for healthy ecosystems that benefit both wildlife and people. NJ Audubon’s efforts to protect habitat and wildlife are commonly intertwined with the need to protect our water resources and air quality.

  • Water Quality Management Planning Rules
  • Delaware River Basin Conservation Act
  • New York - New Jersey Harbor
  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
  • First National Carbon Emissions Standard for New Power Plants

Water Quality Management Planning Rules

New Jersey’s Water Quality Management Planning Rules requires up-to-date wastewater management plans. These plans determine where sewers and septic systems can and cannot go, which in turn dictates development and impacts wildlife habitat quantity and quality. Of particular concern to NJ Audubon is the important role complete and up-to-date wastewater management plans play in the protection of New Jersey’s environmentally sensitive areas. The location of threatened and endangered species habitat, wetlands, and riparian zones are largely known throughout the state and can be avoided and buffered through proper consideration in the development of these plans as required by the Water Quality Management Planning Rules.

NJ Audubon supports the full implementation of these rules and acknowledges the importance of complete water quality management plans as a crucial state land use planning tool.

Resources: NJ DEP WQMP Program, WQMP Rules & Guidance

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Delaware River Basin Conservation Act

The Delaware River Basin spans portions of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, from its pristine headwaters in the Catskills to its mouth at the Delaware Bay. This vast river system not only provides vital habitats for a rich variety of aquatic, bird, and wildlife species, but it's also home to more than eight million residents, provides drinking water to over 15 million people, and is vital to the economic well-being of the mid-Atlantic region. Unlike other geographic watershed programs (such as the Great Lakes and Puget Sound), the Delaware River Basin currently lacks a Basin-wide coordinated conservation strategy and dedicated federal support. The Delaware River Basin Conservation Act employs a voluntary, non-regulatory dual approach focused on facilitating basin-wide collaboration on conservation efforts, and increasing resources and local capacity for on-the-ground, locally-driven projects.

The Act was re-introduced in the 113th Session of Congress in February 2013 and NJ Audubon has taken an active role in efforts to support its advancement. It enjoys bipartisan sponsorship and was heard in the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee in the last Congressional Session - one of only two “Great Waters” bills to make it to this stage in the legislative process. We are also working closely with the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed to raise awareness of the importance of the Delaware River Basin and to support this legislative initiative.

Resources: DRBCA Passes Senate EPW Committee Press release, Follow the status of the DRBCA

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New York - New Jersey Harbor

The New York - New Jersey Harbor – “America’s Harbor” – is an extraordinary environmental, economic and cultural gem that is integral to the nation’s largest, most diverse and densely populated urban region – a region that draws visitors from around the world and is home to 22 million people, the busiest port on the East Coast, historic National Parks and landmarks, and more than half a million acres of diverse shoreline and critical habitat. Despite local, state and federal efforts to protect and restore these incredible natural and historic resources, public access to the water remains limited, iconic parks and landmarks are crumbling, and the region’s biodiversity and ecology continue to suffer.

The New York-New Jersey Harbor Coalition (of which NJ Audubon is a member and serves on the Steering Committee) formed to galvanize public support, engage elected leaders and secure the missing ingredient for America’s Harbor: the critical federal investment needed to match local resources and transform our harbor through coordinated, comprehensive restoration projects that truly meet the economic, recreational and environmental needs of the region. This strategy is informed by successful citizen-led efforts in the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound that have secured hundreds of millions of dollars for environmental restoration projects in their regions and is very similar to the initiative NJ Audubon is engaged on in the Delaware River Basin with partners there supporting the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act.

The NY-NJ Harbor Coalition is working with members of Congress from Harbor Districts in a bipartisan, bi-state effort to create a comprehensive, effective and sustainable multi-agency program to prioritize, fund and manage restoration projects identified in these plans, while supporting existing federal funding programs that benefit this work.

Resources: NY-NJ Harbor Coalition website, Urge Congress to restore the NY-NJ Harbor – Send a letter today!


Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

NJ Audubon believes a responsible means of addressing climate change is necessary for the future health of humans, wildlife, and the environment. This includes greenhouse gas mitigation. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is just one approach that requires less command and control of power plants than other methods for reducing emissions. By funding clean energy and reducing emissions from power plants, RGGI not only improves New Jersey’s air quality but brings us closer to addressing climate change and protecting human health and wildlife.

RGGI is the first market-based regulatory program in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is a multi-state cooperative effort among Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Collectively, these states have capped and will reduce power sector CO2 emissions 10 percent by 2018. New Jersey was also a participant until January 1, 2012 when the current Administration withdrew New Jersey from the program.

NJ Audubon supports New Jersey’s participation in RGGI and current legislation that reaffirms the intent of the Legislature for New Jersey to participate in the program (A1998/S1322). We have and continue to advocate for the passage of this legislation and encourage the Administration’s support.

Resources: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

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First National Carbon Emissions Standard for Power Plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed an industrial carbon pollution rule that sets performance requirements regarding carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants. This proposed standard is significant as power plants represent the biggest source of carbon pollution in the United States and would provide an important step towards addressing climate change on a national scale. Reducing carbon pollution from power plants will improve overall air quality, create jobs, and benefit the environment.

NJ Audubon submitted comments in support of the rule. The National Wildlife Federation, of which NJ Audubon is an affiliate, has set a goal of 2 million public comments in support of the rule.

Resources: Proposed Industrial Carbon Rule

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