Environmental commission readies for 2021 projects


MANTOLOKING — The borough’s environmental commission is ready for an active year with a list of goals the group will work to accomplish. 

According to councilwoman and commission chair Barbara Benz, from participating in beach sweeps to dealing with flood mitigation, the commission expects to be very active in 2021. 

To start, the commission will participate in Clean Ocean Action’s annual April beach sweep. Members hope to include an educational event on protecting endangered plants and wildlife.


“From my way of thinking, we will participate in the science of the snapshot as to what the beaches looked like on that particular day in time,” said Ms. Benz. 

The commission also hopes to bring back a newsletter to inform residents on commission happenings, best practices for recycling and landscaping, as well as broadcasting its annual educational events for residents. 

A separate recycling mailer is in the works to inform residents of the borough’s recycling rules to pursue recycling compliance. The mailer will also give information on the state’s Recycle Coach application. 

Last year, the borough received a bronze certification from Sustainable Jersey thanks in part to the work of the commission. They will work to sustain and better this certification this year. 

“Through that, we put in tens of hours, if not easily over 100 hours, of work last year to achieve that certification,” said Ms. Benz. 

The borough was approved for 155 points of the 150 needed for the bronze level certification. The borough was judged in categories such as community education, work in native plants, sustainable gardening, citizen science projects, recycling waste reduction education and much more.

Sustainable Jersey provides tools, training and financial incentives to support communities as they pursue sustainability programs, according to its website. Currently, 457 of the state’s 565 municipalities are participating in the municipal certification program.

A separate achievement the commission will again pursue is to complete Sustainable Jersey’s Roots for Rivers plantings. The commission applied for the grant in 2019 and was awarded in 2020. 

“We were given grant money, basically we were performing plantings in the back dunes to help the barrier island improve the natural habitat and support wildlife as well as fortify the dunes,” said Ms. Benz.

She said the hard work paid off, as the dunes held up during the past few winter storms.

In 2021, the group will use the leftover grant money to further aid the borough.

“We are going to be moving forward with replacing any plants that may not have survived the winter and the conditions,” said Ms. Benz. 

The commission has much more planned for 2021, including organizing tours and walks, hosting more educational events as well as planning for stormwater management and back bay flooding. 

“We’re always looking for members who are interested,” said Ms. Benz. 

For more information visit the commission’s page on Facebook.

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