Project Development

The first step in crafting a project is to identify potential planting sites and determine who owns the land.

Online resources such as Google maps, Google Earth and/or the NJ Maps Conservation Blueprint mapping tool can be helpful guides in identification of potential restoration sites. An informational video on how to use NJ Maps can be viewed here.

Additional assistance in the site selection process and project planning may also be available from the local watershed organization or the New Jersey Watershed Ambassadors Program. The Nature Conservancy will be training Watershed Ambassadors on how to help applicants determine ecological characteristics. They can serve as a direct reference to make sure sites will not negatively affect state/federally listed species amongst other things.


Potential Sites 

Identify rivers or streams running through the municipality and look for areas at the site along the banks with the following features:

  • No woody vegetation or sparse woody vegetation

  • Mowed lawns or impermeable pavement

  • Invasive or non-native grasses and plants (reed canary grass, loosestrife, etc.)

  • Signs of erosion

  • Close proximity to paved roads

Please note that the goal of this program is to increase native tree and shrub cover in
floodplains. Potential project sites must fall within the Ecological Floodplain Areas (EFA). Use the NJ Maps Conservation Blueprint tool to verify if your site falls within the EFA reference layer. More information about the EFA layer can be found online, in the NJ Maps tool. Cutting down, removing, mowing or otherwise disturbing healthy native vegetation including, but not limited to, trees and shrubs planted or naturally growing in the project area is not consistent with this goal and is prohibited.

Applicants must visit their project sites in-person. Looking up your site on one of the online tools is not enough.

The application will ask you to use NJ Maps to identify information on your project site to be included in the application. Please review the instructions document here and template here (also in Appendix 5 of the Application Information Packet) to find the requested information to ensure complete and accurate project tracking and ecological characterization of project site.


Land Ownership

  • Eligible project sites include:

  • Municipal or school district owned land

  • Other public land (preserved land, open space, etc.) owned by the county or state, provided the application includes a letter from the property owner supporting the project and granting permission to implement the project.

  • Non-profit organization owned land, provided that the application includes a letter from the property owner supporting the project and granting permission to implement the project.

Project sites on private land are NOT eligible.