Chapter 251: Protecting Soil Resources for Water Quality
In 1975, the State Legislature passed Chapter 251, P.L. 1975, the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act of New Jersey. This legislation gave local conservation districts the power to control soil erosion and sedimentation by requiring the submission of a Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan for almost all soil disturbances over 5,000 square feet.
Within the legislative findings of Chapter 251 is this statement:
“The Legislature finds that sediment is a source of pollution and that soil erosion continues to be a serious problem throughout the State, and that rapid shifts in land use, from agricultural and rural to non-agricultural and urbanizing uses, construction of housing, industrial and commercial developments, and other land disturbing activities have accelerated the process of soil erosion and sediment deposition resulting in pollution of the waters of the State and damage to domestic, agricultural, industrial, recreational, fish and wildlife, and other resource uses. It is, therefore, declared to be the policy of the State to strengthen and extend the present erosion and sediment control activities and programs of this State for both rural and urban lands, and to establish and implement, through the State Soil Conservation Committee and the Soil Conservation Districts, in cooperation with the counties, the municipalities and the Department of Environmental Protection, a Statewide comprehensive and coordinated erosion and sediment control program to reduce the danger from storm water runoff, to retard non-point pollution from sediment and to conserve and protect the land, water, air and other environmental resources of the State.”
In as much as the land disturbance activities outlined in the legislative findings are one of the primary causes of soil erosion and sedimentation, the Ocean County Soil Conservation District maintains a staff of erosion control and conservation specialists whose primary responsibilities are the review of erosion control plans submitted by applicants, and the performance of on-site inspections to insure that approved erosion control practices are followed. In the course of those inspections, OCSCD staff are on the site of single and multi-family unit subdivisions, commercial and industrial sites, roads, utilities, public construction, mining, quarrying, landfills, land grading, and bulkheading sites.
OCSCD staff are also available to engineers and developers in Ocean County for consultation and guidance in following the mandates of the New Jersey State Standards for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control.
New Jersey Department of Agriculture
State Soil Conservation Committee and Soil Conservation Districts
The Natural Resource Conservation programs provide engineering services and regulatory guidance to soil conservation districts, homeowners, engineers, planners and virtually all development activities. The Division provides technical standards applicable to construction and mining sites regulated by the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act program and policies and procedures associated with the Stormwater Permitting program. In addition, the Division conducts Conservation Education programs such as the Envirothon, and Poster and Bumper Sticker Contest. These programs are designed to promote the conservation of renewable resources.
- Soil and Water Conservation
- Conservation Education
- Conservation Districts in New Jersey
- NJ Department of Environmental Protection Construction Stormwater Permit Phase II
- Policies and Rules
- Technical Resources
Division watershed staff work in partnership with State, County and Local agencies in the development of watershed models for Regional Stormwater Management Planning.
New Jersey’s Black-Out Dates For Fertilizer Use Are Upon Us
Help spread the word – but NOT the fertilizer
As the weather turns colder, applying fertilizer makes little sense. The ground is hard and grass has stopped growing. It’s also against the law.
Governor Christ Christie signed one of the nation’s toughest fertilizer laws and it sets standards that are designed to protect New Jersey’s waterways from nutrient pollution. One feature of the law is that it determines when fertilizer can and cannot be used. Referred to as “Black-out dates,”
fertilizer cannot be applied on the dates below:
* As of November 16, residents cannot apply fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorus to their lawns until next spring, beginning on February 28, 2014;
* Commercial fertilizer applicators must complete their customer service cycle of late fall nitrogen or phosphorus fertilization by December 2 and then fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus cannot be applied onto lawns again until February 28, 2014; but
* All other materials, such as products containing potassium, lime and composts, are still legal to apply during these blackout dates of November/December through February 28th.
The reason for the black-out dates is a common-sense approach to water quality protection. When the ground is frozen, the possibility is greater for having runoff from fertilizer, as well as leachate into groundwater, impair the State’s surface and groundwater quality.
New Jersey’s fertilizer law also established a new content standard for fertilizer that is reducing excess nutrient runoff by decreasing the total amount of nitrogen in fertilizer and increasing the amount of slow release nitrogen. As of January 5 of this year, all fertilizer products for turf now contain at least 20 percent slow-release nitrogen, and zero phosphorus unless a soil test demonstrates a need for more.
The law also created a fertilizer application certification program for professional fertilizer applicators, through the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University and in consultation with the DEP.
The certification program was launched by Rutgers University in late 2011.
To learn more about ProFACT (Professional Fertilizer Applicator Certification and Training effort), go to:
The DEP worked with members of the Healthy Lawns Healthy Waters Workgroup and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University to implement the fertilizer law. To learn more about the law’s components and
Implementation of this law is also part of Governor Christie’s 10-point action plan to protect and restore Barnegat Bay. To learn about how this law is being carried out in the Barnegat Bay watershed, visit:http://www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/plan-nutrientpollution.htm
Please put your fertilizer spreader away for the winter and share this information about blackout dates with neighbors, friends and co-workers.
Help spread the word – but NOT the fertilizer, and help protect and restore New Jersey’s water resources.