STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION
Assemblyman BRIAN E. RUMPF
District 9 (Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean)
Assemblywoman DIANNE C. GOVE
District 9 (Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean)
Requires DEP to assume responsibility for dredging of waterways providing boat access to lagoon communities; appropriates $6,000,000.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel
An Act concerning the dredging of certain waterways in certain areas of the State, supplementing Title 12 of the Revised Statutes, and making an appropriation.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Legislature finds and declares that a number of communities were established in coastal municipalities to encourage development, investment, and relocation in these municipalities; that such communities have become known as "lagoon communities" because of the lagoons that were constructed as part of the developments to increase the value and enhance the attractiveness of the properties by offering boat access to the homes in the communities; that a number of people invested in and relocated to the homes in these communities, without any notification or knowledge of any of the environmental concerns about establishing or maintaining these communities; that, despite the branding of a number of these lagoon communities by the Department of Environmental Protection as "illegal," the lagoon communities have been an aesthetic and economic boost to the shore area by invigorating coastal municipalities with the influx of people and the bolstering of the tax base; and that the people who have made the investment of money, commitment and dedication to the coastal municipalities should not be penalized for this contribution by devaluing their investment.
The Legislature further finds and declares that a number of the waterways accessing these communities are designated as navigational channels by the State and therefore are the State's responsibility to dredge and maintain as functioning navigable waterways; and that the waterways used for transportation and recreational boating that are not officially designated as navigational channels also should be dredged and maintained by the State to ensure the environmental integrity of the areas in which the dredging occurs and the quality of life of the residents who have invested in these areas.
The Legislature therefore determines that the Department of Environmental Protection should take responsibility for the dredging of the waterways providing boat access to lagoon communities in the State, whether officially designated as navigational channels or not, and maintain these waterways for the future economic and environmental health and vitality of the coastal areas of the State.
2. a. Within one year after the effective date of this act, the Department of Environmental Protection shall establish a list of all lagoon communities in the State and the waterways providing boat access thereto, and a dredging schedule, on a priority basis, for the dredging of the waterways required to reestablish and improve boat access to each of the communities on the list. The list shall include, but shall not be necessarily limited to, the following: Cedar Creek, Hancy's Pond (Forked River), the Loveladies Lagoons, Manahawkin Creek, the Mystic Island Lagoons, the O Street Lake Lagoon (Seaside Park), Thompson Creek (Tuckerton), Tide Pond Creek, Skippers Cove Beach, Sunrise Beach (Forked River), and Veeder and Bayview Lagoon. The dredging schedule shall provide for all dredging to be completed within the two years after the effective date of this act.
b. As soon as practicable after the establishment of the lists and dredging schedule required under subsection a. of this section, the Department of Environmental Protection shall begin the necessary dredging and shall complete the dredging no later than two years after the effective date of this act.
c. Within the two years after the effective date of this act, the Department of Environmental Protection shall establish a maintenance dredging schedule for the waterways providing boat access to lagoon communities in the State, identified pursuant to subsection a. of this section. The maintenance dredging schedule shall include the estimated annual cost for the maintenance dredging. The schedule shall begin, and the Department of Environmental Protection shall implement it no later than, two years and 180 days after the effective date of this act.
d. The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall submit to the Governor and Legislature the lists and schedules required to be established pursuant to this section within the 30 days after the lists and schedules have been established and shall include funding of the maintenance dredging projects in the annual budget request submitted by the department to the Governor.
3. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Environmental Protection the sum of $5,000,000 for the purposes of effectuating the requirements of subsections a. and b. of section 2 of this act, and the sum of $1,000,000 for the purposes of establishing and implementing the maintenance dredging schedule as required under subsection c. of section 2 of this act.
4. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill provides for the dredging of the waterways providing boat access to lagoon communities in the State, whether officially designated as navigational channels or not, and maintain these waterways for the future economic and environmental health and vitality of the coastal areas of the State.