Grant Awarded to Randolph to REAP Environmental Rewards
Posted: December 19, 2022
The Township of Randolph received a $30,000 grant from the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council (Highlands Council) on November 30, 2022 to support environmental and economic sustainability in Randolph.
The award is contingent on the completion of work necessary for the development of the Randolph Environmental Action Plan (“REAP”) that will serve as a guidance document for the township with respect to environmentally conscious planning and decision making. The REAP will be the first plan of its type developed for the township and represents a unique opportunity to take action on priority issues of local concern and municipal responsibility. By following the action plan, the township will lead by example through its commitment to environmental sustainability.
“Randolph Township is one of the 88 municipalities that are part of the defined New Jersey Highlands Region in the northwest part of New Jersey. Over half of New Jersey’s drinking water comes from the Highland region and therefore, it needs to be protected by prudent planning. I commend our Township Manager Greg Poff for applying for, and securing, this award on behalf of Randolph Township,” said Mayor Marie Potter.
The State Legislature of New Jersey passed the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act (Highlands Act) in 2004, to protect both the natural resources and the economic viability of communities within the region. The Highlands Act established the Highlands Council as a regional planning agency and charged it with the creation and adoption of a regional master plan to protect and enhance the natural resources within the New Jersey Highlands. The Highlands Council works in partnership with municipalities and counties in the region to encourage a comprehensive regional planning approach to implementation of the Highlands Act.
To facilitate the REAP project, Randolph Township contracted with Pinto Consulting, LLC, a consulting firm that provides services to government, businesses and landowners on issues of conservation, land preservation and strategic planning. The grant from the Highlands Council will cover the cost of their services. Pinto Consulting will work in tandem with an Advisory Group that consists of three Councilmembers, two members of Randolph’s Landmarks and Environmental Committee, a representative from the Randolph Community Garden, the Township Planning Administrator, the Township Manager, and a representative from the Highlands Council.
“The Randolph Landmarks and Environmental Committee is appreciative of the Highlands Council support for the preparation of the Randolph Environmental Action Plan. Our committee is eager to help carry out the activities and plans ultimately developed in order to protect open space and natural resources within the township,” stated Kelly Meola, Chair of the Landmarks and Environmental Committee.
In addition to supporting local projects, the Highlands Council advanced several initiatives that have region-wide impact. These include development of a Regional Economic Sustainability Plan and the eagerly anticipated Interactive Environmental Resource Inventory.
As a municipality that serves over 25,000 residents across twenty-one square miles, oversees private development activities and operates numerous facilities, Randolph Township’s decisions and actions affect the entire community and have a direct impact on the environment. The REAP is focused on actions that the municipality can take to protect and improve the environment within the township over the short and long term. The REAP will be developed by integrating feedback from residents and interested stakeholders. A number of reporting and monitoring options will be included in the action plan to assist in measuring progress.
In response to the efforts being made, Councilmember Joanne Veech stated, “I am so proud to be a part of this township. Pursuing environmental sustainability in Randolph is important and attainment of grants like this demonstrate the work being done by township administration and staff to support Randolph citizens.”
For future updates on the REAP, visit the township website and follow the Township of Randolph on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). To learn more about the Highlands Council, please visit nj.gov/njhighlands.