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Ocean County Farmland Preservation Program
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Ocean County Preserves Over 15,237 Acres by the Natural Lands Trust Fund Program to date.

Since its inception in 1998, the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund program has been actively pursuing and acquiring lands that are environmentally sensitive and rich in natural resources.

That is over 800 acres preserved every year and approximately 20.25 total square miles of preserved open space.

Thanks to its many partners the County is able to continue its efforts to preserve open space and the quality of life for its residents.

Program Overview:

Lands that fall under this program are environmentally sensitive, natural areas or open spaces that would protect farmland, water quality, wetlands and other lands with unique or sensitive features.

The Natural Lands Trust Fund goal encourages the establishment of a system of protected lands which, in combination with the Farmlands Preservation Program, enhances the quality of life in Ocean County by:

  • Helping to maintain the County’s rural characteristics;
  • Protecting critical environmental resources and water supply;
  • Maintaining and enhancing active agriculture;
  • Buffering areas that are not compatible with development.
In 1997, the residents of Ocean County, overwhelmingly voted to establish the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Program. The approval of a 1.2 cent dedicated tax provides the Board of Chosen Freeholders with the funds to acquire lands in Ocean County for conservation and farmland preservation. On February 18, 1998, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders established a nine member Natural Lands Trust Fund Advisory Committee to advise on the preparation of the required open space plan and the nomination of properties to be acquired through the Natural Lands Trust Fund. The committee’s purpose is to review nominations for the Trust Fund and to forward recommendations to the Board of Chosen Freeholders for consideration.

The program now generates over $8 million per year for natural lands acquisitions and farmland preservation. Several important parcels have been preserved and acquired through partnerships with non-profits, municipalities and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2006. the Program was awarded the Governor's Environmental Excellence Award.

For more information:

Mark Villinger, Principal Planner

Ocean County Department of Planning
129 Hooper Ave.
PO Box 2191
Toms River, NJ 08754-2191
(732) 929-2054
(732) 244-8396 FAX


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Ocean County Department of Planning, 129 Hooper Avenue, P.O. Box 2191, Toms River, NJ 08754-2191
The preceding information has been provided as a service of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
©2015 Ocean County Department of Planning. All rights reserved.

August 14, 2015

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