MANALAPAN – Despite the coronavirus pandemic that caused the cancellation of many public activities and events during 2021, the volunteer members of the Manalapan Environmental Commission were able to complete many tasks that were aimed at improving the community.
The commission’s chairwoman, Jenine Tankoos, recently detailed the commission’s accomplishments during 2021. Tankoos provided a report to the Township Committee as well as to the community.
The Environmental Commission has been reconstituted with two additional members, and 13 public meetings have been held.
Commission meetings were attended by 12 applicants for Manalapan development. The Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment as well as the applicants were given comments and suggestions.
On Sept. 18, a native plant sale took place at the Manalapan Recreation Center Eco patio.
To discuss topics related to landscaping, several educational displays were created. The Eco Patio and Dreyer Pavilion will host the next native plant sale on June 4. The plant sale will be open rain or shine.
At the Environmental Commission’s Eco Patio, commissioners and other volunteers from the community met several times to tend to the demonstration gardens;
The commission worked with the Manalapan High School Environmental Club to plan additional murals for the Eco Patio site as well as to paint sidewalk games on pavement.
The Environmental Commission conducted research into the issue of balloon releases, which have become a tradition to commemorate a loved-one or celebrate an occasion.
This activity can have negative consequences that can be dangerous for the environment and pose a safety risk to the public. Balloons can become entangled in power lines and cause power outages. As a result, balloons can fall and become litter that causes pollution and harms animals.
The commission created a draft ordinance that would prohibit the purposeful release or use of balloons. It was based on similar ordinances that were adopted in other municipalities. The Township Committee received the draft ordinance.
Tankoos said the commission appreciates that municipal officials responded by banning the release of balloons in Manalapan’s parks and at other municipal property, and looks forward to continuing a discussion of how other balloon releases can be reduced;
A draft resolution was prepared, and it was submitted to the Township Committee to be considered for support bills S-2515 & A-4676. These bills, also known as Recycled Content Bill, were aimed at increasing recycling markets in New Jersey. The legislation became a state statute on Jan. 18, 2022.
The commission reviewed the proposed storm water management ordinance. The Township Committee received comments highlighting the need to improve the ordinance in the future to reduce flooding, improve water quality, and reduce costs.
The summer college intern at the commission created a geocaching game that incorporated an environmental theme for Manalapan Recreation Center.
The commission continued to supply an Environmental Tip of the Month. It is artistically designed, and widely distributed to the local community.
Regarding the continuationThe commission was involved in the following activities:
The Environmental Commission applied to the Monmouth County Audubon Society for a grant to improve bird habitat at the recreation centre by planting more native trees and installing bluebird homes. The commission is still waiting to hear if the grant will come.
The Environmental Commission was presented with NJ-GeoWeb, an important tool in environmental monitoring.
The commissioners attended webinars about infrastructure for electric vehicles and a new law in New Jersey regarding plastics.
Tankoos stated the Environmental Commission is looking forward for another productive year in 2022, and appreciates the Township Committee’s support in 2021.
The administrative staff, Department of Public Works, the township forester.
On behalf of the commission, Tankoos thanked Committeeman Barry Jacobson, who serves as the Township Committee’s liaison to the Environmental Commission.
If you are interested to volunteer to help the Environmental Commission, send an email to email@example.com