On Feb. 13, the New Jersey Senate unanimously approved Adopt a Barnegat Bay Stormwater Basin Act (S. 1084), which was introduced by state senators Paul Sarlo and Bob Smith. Next to the Chesapeake Bay, Barnegat Bay is considered the second most polluted watershed in the United States, with more than 2000 failing stormwater basins. The bill seeks to encourage local nonprofits and businesses to adopt part of the Barnegat Bay watershed and to be responsible for the maintenance, construction, improvement, operation, or funding of stormwater basins in that area. Benefits for adopters include recognition and significant tax credits. The bill now heads to the state assembly for further consideration.

This bill complements the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) action plan, released at the end of 2011. One of the items on the DEP’s list is to fix 150 to 200 stormwater basins per year in the Barnegat Bay watershed.