Enroll in a New Stewardship Program for a Healthy Bay

Image of a woman tending to her home garden.

The Barnegat Bay Partnership (BBP) invites residents, schools, and municipalities in the Barnegat Bay watershed to enroll in a new environmental stewardship program. The Jersey-Friendly Yards Certification Program guides property owners in the best landscaping practices for a healthy environment and recognizes them as protectors of the bay.

Most of the water pollution in the Barnegat Bay is coming from its watershed — the land areas and rivers and creeks that drain into the bay. Participants in the Jersey-Friendly Yards Certification Program will learn how to use land stewardship practices to reduce sources of pollution, conserve water supplies, and create valuable habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife in their yards. The Jersey-Friendly Yards website provides comprehensive resources and online tools for participants to use to achieve certification.

The BBP received a grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to develop this exciting new Certification Program in partnership with the Ocean County Soil Conservation District.

Residents, Schools, and Municipalities Can Get Certified

There are three separate certification tracks – one for Residents, one for Schools, and one for Municipalities – which are designed to complement each other from the individual to community level. Any resident, school, or municipality located within the Barnegat Bay watershed can enroll in a program. All 33 municipalities in Ocean County and portions of four Monmouth County municipalities (Millstone, Freehold, Howell, and Wall) lie within the watershed.

In the Resident Program, participants complete a checklist of environmentally-friendly landscaping practices that they use in their yards. Once they reach score of 30 on the checklist, they submit photos of their Jersey-Friendly practices to achieve certification.

In the School Program, students learn about the importance of a healthy watershed and clean water through lessons and activities based on the 8 Steps to a Jersey-Friendly Yard. Then, they apply what they have learned by installing a Jersey-Friendly school garden or landscape project.

In the Municipal Program, participating towns complete a series of Actions and Projects on municipal property based on the 8 Steps to a Jersey-Friendly Yard. They also educate their community about how to landscape for a healthy environment and bay.

Certification Benefits

The many benefits to becoming certified include a healthy yard for people and wildlife, cost savings by using low-maintenance land care practices, cleaner water and a healthier environment for the entire community, the opportunity to be a local leader in environmental stewardship, and recognition for achieving certification.

Learn more and enroll in a program here. Your voluntary actions as a program participant and land steward will contribute to cleaner water and a healthier environment for everyone who lives, works, and plays in the Barnegat Bay watershed!

If you have questions, please email Karen Walzer, BBP Public Outreach Coordinator, at kwalzer@ocean.edu.

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