Conservation Almanac



New Jersey

New Jersey Profile of State Programs and Policy Framework

Highlighted Local Programs

New Jersey

Highlighted State Programs

New Jersey

State Policy Framework

New Jersey


To avoid double counting acres where multiple programs contributed to the acquisition of a single parcel, the acreage is only aggregated under the program that provided the majority of funding. For example, if the table below displays a dollar amount greater than $0 for a given year but shows 0 acres, the program was not the primary contributor for any parcels in that year. As a result, a prolific program may show very low acreage figures on this page. To see customized program information please visit the map viewer tab or contact the Conservation Almanac Team.

Highlighted Local Programs

Data for the Conservation Almanac has been collected for county measures approved by voters in New Jersey, but is not yet available online. Please contact the Almanac Team with questions. Visit for more information on municipal and county open space measures in New Jersey .

Highlighted State Programs

New Jersey Garden State Preservation Trust

The Garden State Preservation Trust distributes funds to four programs: 1) the Green Acres Program, 2) the Farmland Preservation Program, 3) the New Jersey Historic Trust, and 4) the Blue Acres Program. Each program has multiple components.

These programs receive consistent support from New Jersey voters, who have approved 13 statewide ballot measures since the Green Acres program was created in 1961. The Farmland Preservation program was established in 1983. The New Jersey Historic Trust was established in 1967. The Blue Acres Program, which is managed under the Green Acres program, was created in 2007.

New Jersey Green Acres Program

New Jersey's Green Acres Program, which marked its 50th anniversary in 2011, is among the most successful state preservation programs in the nation. Since 1961, Green Acres has preserved more than 650,000 acres of land and supported the development of more than 1,100 state and local parks.
The Program funds direct acquisitions by the state from willing sellers. The program also funds local (municipal and county) land acquisition, local development of parks and recreation facilities, acquisition projects by nonprofit organizations, and recreation development by nonprofits through low interest loans and grants.

2005 31,927.4 $82,728,501
2004 15,896.7 $61,246,175
2003 10,720.9 $47,037,391
2002 24,767.5 $53,509,644
2001 20,142.8 $67,872,249
2000 19,274.8 $37,622,027
1999 9,636.2 $33,685,038
1998 14,433.0 $22,399,761
Total146,799.4 $406,100,790

New Jersey Farmland Preservation Program

The New Jersey State Agricultural Development Committee (SADC) administers the New Jersey Farmland Preservation Program. The Program provides grants to counties, municipalities, and nonprofit groups to fund the purchase of development easements on farmlands. It also directly purchase farms and development easements from landowners.

Landowners can either sell the development rights to their land and continue to farm the land, or sell the land outright. The land is permanently restricted for agricultural use. When the SADC purchases farms outright, it resells them at public auction as permanently preserved farms.

The SADC provides additional funding to counties and municipality to preserve farmland through the County Planning Incentive Grant and Municipal Planning Incentive Grant programs. Counties may seek funding from the state for up to 60-80 percent of the costs of purchasing development rights on approved farms.

The SADC provides grants to nonprofit organizations to fund up to 50 percent of the fee simple or development easement values on farms to ensure their permanent preservation.

The SADC also manages an Eight-Year Preservation program, where farmland owners agree to voluntarily restrict non-agricultural development for a period of eight years for certain benefits such as the eligibility to apply for grants to fund up to 50 percent of certain soil and water conservation projects.

The New Jersey Historic Trust is an independent agency that advances historic preservation in New Jersey. The Trust administers a number of funding programs for preservation projects such as the repair, restoration, rehabilitation planning, and improvement of historic properties. These include the Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Fund, the Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund, the Cultural Trust Capital Preservation Grant Program, the 1772 Foundation, the Discover NJ History License Plate Fund for Heritage Tourism, the Revolving Loan Fund, and the Emergency Grant and Loan Fund. The program also accepts perpetual easements to provide for long-term preservation of a historical resource.

The Blue Acres program, administered by the Department of Environmental Protection, acquires flood-prone private property in the Delaware, Raritan, and Passiac Rivers watersheds.

Properties (including structures) that have been damaged by, or may be prone to incurring damage caused by, storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage, are eligible for acquisition under Blue Acres. All acquisitions must be from willing sellers. State funding is often leveraged with federal funds from FEMA and the NRCS.

2005 9,309.5 $42,485,809
2004 16,202.6 $67,493,803
2003 28,527.4 $99,274,955
2002 16,694.2 $82,878,985
2001 10,655.7 $42,114,076
2000 9,703.0 $33,577,675
1999 7,277.9 $23,082,157
1998 6,652.4 $24,382,353
Total105,022.7 $415,289,817

New Jersey Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program

The Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resources Program (HREP) is designed to help balance redevelopment plans of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey with the need to preserve critical habitats and public waterfront access in the two states. The program funds protection of critical habitat within the Hudson-Raritan Estuary. To be considered, sites must be identified as threatened by development and suitable for conservation, ecological enhancement, public waterfront access, and/or environmental mitigation.

The program is funded with appropriations made by the Port Authority's Board of Commissioners. In July 2001, the board set aside $60 million ($30 million each for New York and New Jersey). An additional $10 million was authorized in 2004 for acquisitions and improvement within the Meadowlands District in New Jersey. The Board approved a second $60 million investment in February 2014 to again be split by New York and New Jersey. So far 400 acres have been preserved, including 250 in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program

The New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program (EIFP) is a revolving loan program, which is administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, an independent state financing authority. Established by the Legislature in 1986, the Program is the first of its kind in the country and offers local governments and some private water companies low-cost financing for wastewater systems, combined sewer overflow abatement, nonpoint source pollution control, safe drinking water supplies, and open space acquisition. To date, the program has provided more than $4.3 billion dollars to municipal and county governments, as well as some private water companies.

Open space acquisition projects are eligible for the Smart Growth Financing Package where the Department of Environmental Protection funds 75 percent of the project cost at zero percent interest and 25 percent of the project costs are funded by the Environmental Infrastructure Trust at market rates.

State Policy Framework

Substantial State Investment

Enable Local Financing

State Incentive for Local Land Conservation

Public-Private Partnerships

Conservation Tax Credits

Federal Partnerships

Some data was not provided on a yearly basis, but rather as an aggregate figure. In this case we have distributed total acres acquired and/or dollars spent evenly by year.