Go Green Galloway is one year into its 18 month Friends Along The Mullica grant project.

This effort, funded by the Sustainable Jersey program, is one of two grants awarded during this particular grant cycle in the Atlantic/Cape May counties' “Hub” of Green Teams. One grant was awarded to the Sustainable Downbeach towns of Ventnor, Margate and Longport for a portable filtered water dispensing station, to be shared at various events in many towns.

The concept behind this grant opportunity was for three or more municipalities to join together for the purpose of achieving a common environmental goal. In the award of the Friends Along The Mullica grant, eight municipalities join together: Absecon, Atlantic City, Brigantine, Egg Harbor City, Galloway Township, Hammonton, Mullica Township and Port Republic — all towns touched in some way by the Mullica River, tributaries and estuary areas.

Here is the project description as originally set forth:

"This grant proposal, combining eight towns on the Atlantic County side of the Mullica River, is intended to provide educational opportunities regarding interaction with the Mullica River, its tributaries and associated water features. These towns share common challenges from climate change, wetlands loss, stormwater issues, invasive plants, wildlife management and habitat, litter, illegal dumping, damage from offroad vehicles (ORVs), and more. With these grant monies and the help of the Rutgers University Marine Field Station (RUMFS), NJDEP Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Stockton University, the Edwin P. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR), the Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA), the Southeast Chapter of the New Jersey Native Plant Society and other non-profit groups, we seek to create an educational component with audio/visual work, brochure production and social media use, while celebrating our precious common heritage as 'Friends Along The Mullica.'"

Since starting to fulfill the grant, almost all of the member towns, institutions and nonprofit groups mentioned above have been engaged and involved in some way. Initially, map sets were received from each town to help understand flood vulnerability, wetlands delineations, geographic boundaries, vegetation, soils, set aside lands, etc. Many tons of litter and illegally dumped materials have been removed from areas on or near wetlands, often in areas formerly neglected for decades. We give a shout out to the Atlantic County Utilities Authority for its cooperation and assistance in this regard. Other new and somewhat unexpected partnerships have come about, with possible yields of more sustainable, long-term results. Such results could be additional protected land acquisitions for safer, cleaner recreation, wetlands restoration and for natural habitats. Also, the conversation has widened to include more towns around the Mullica River Watershed and elsewhere. This has increased conversations about tourism development, the Pinelands and information sharing about rivers, estuaries and wetlands issues throughout wider areas.

So, as the size and scope of the Friends Along The Mullica project has increased, so has the need for more volunteers to attend workshops, help craft solutions to problems, help with monitoring land and water, participate in cleanups and to have some fun along the way.

For more information about the program and how you can get involved, contact Go Green Galloway at gogreengalloway12@gmail.com or 609-742-7076; or the Galloway Township Office Of Sustainability at mlynch@gtnj.org or 609-652-3700, ext. 209.

Go Green Galloway is a volunteer organization dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of Galloway through the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation, environmental education and the implementation of sustainable practices. We always welcome new volunteer members. Contact us at gogreengalloway12@gmail.com or call Mary at 609-742-7076. Also be sure to like our Facebook page.

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