[First Reprint]

ASSEMBLY, No. 5042







Sponsored by:


District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)


District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblywoman  ANNETTE QUIJANO

District 20 (Union)






     Requires Blue Acres projects and certain green infrastructure projects to include plantings of native species in accordance with DEP report, with certain exceptions.



     As reported by the Assembly Special Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources Committee on January 27, 2021, with amendments.


An Act concerning native plants and supplementing Title 13 of the Revised Statutes.


     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


     1.    a. The Department of Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, shall conduct a study of native plants in the State to:

     (1)   assess the water absorption qualities of native plants in the northern, central, and southern regions of the State; and

     (2)   determine the species that are most water absorbent and advantageous for use in Blue Acres projects and green infrastructure projects. 

     b.    No later than one year after the effective date of this act, the Department of Environmental Protection shall prepare a report of its findings. The report shall include recommendations on the use of water absorbent plants in Blue Acres projects and green infrastructure projects, and suggested rules and regulations necessary to implement the recommendations.

     c.     The Department of Environmental Protection 1[may] shall1 adopt, pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations 1[necessary to implement the recommendations made in the report prepared pursuant to this act.] , based on the report prepared pursuant to subsection b. of this section, which establish:

     (1)   requirements for planting, on Blue Acres or green infrastructure projects, those species of native plants determined to be the most water absorbent and otherwise desirable;

     (2)   maintenance guidelines for each species, including, but not limited to, how the plants are to be mown, pruned, or otherwise maintained, and how frequently; and

     (3)   any other provisions necessary for the implementation of this act.1

     d.    1As part of any Blue Acres or green infrastructure project undertaken after the adoption of rules and regulations pursuant to this section, the State, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization, as appropriate, shall plant water absorbent species of native plants and maintain those plants in accordance with the rules and regulations, unless the costs of the appropriate native species are more than 50 percent greater than those of similar non-native species.  Any entity contracted to maintain the property shall also mow, prune, or otherwise maintain the growth of any native water absorbent plants on the property in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this section.

     e.1   As used in this section:

     "Blue Acres project" means any project of the State, a local government unit, or qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization to acquire, for recreation and conservation purposes, lands 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.

     "Green infrastructure" means a stormwater management system that treats stormwater runoff through infiltration into subsoil, treats stormwater runoff through filtration by vegetation or soil, or stores stormwater runoff for reuse.

     "Green infrastructure project" means a project incorporating green infrastructure.


     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.