Welcome to the Long Branch Environmental Commission (LBEC) Website
Educate - Advocate - Facilitate
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Spotlight Topic: Where Does Our Stormwater Go?
Did you know that stormwater runoff is described as the water that runs down your driveway or flows off your yard because there is too much for the soil to absorb.
All that stormwater runoff from driveways, sidewalks, and rooftops in your neighborhood flows to storm drains that go directly into our local bodies of water.
How can you help at your own home?
Look at the picture above. A house with a 2,800 square foot roof in a rainstorm that drops 1 inch of rain, will generate 1,680 gallons of water. Now go outside and see where the drainpipe by your driveway goes. If your drainpipes go into your driveway you can do a simple thing:
Simple Disconnection: This is the easiest and least costly method to reduce stormwater
runoff. Instead of piping rooftop runoff to the street where it enters the storm drain and is piped to the ocean or our streams, the rooftop runoff is released onto a grassy area to allow the water to be filtered by the grass and soak into the ground. A healthy lawn typically can absorb the first one to two inches of stormwater runoff from a rooftop.
Please go outside and see if you can direct a downspout away from the street.
Next month we will talk about another way to help with the flooding in town: rain gardens.
Did you know that Long Branch has a Community Garden?
The mission of the Long Branch Community Garden is to promote organic gardening practices and healthy eating, provide fresh produce to local food pantries and nurture and encourage a love of gardening among its members and community partners. The garden is located on a right-of-way (ROW) that extends from Seventh Avenue to Lippincott Avenue. Various Utility companies have conduits, poles and wiring that run through the ROW. The. NJ Natural Gas Company installed new laterals through the site in 2020. The ROW is approximately 635 feet long and 60 feet wide. The site has approximately 55 individual plots and 5 raised container gardens for gardeners with special needs. There are also two larger community garden sites on the property. Various vegetables, herbs, and some flowers are planted. The site has a utility/service building which was previously used as a modular classroom building at the Gregory Elementary School located on Seventh Avenue and Joline Avenue. It was donated to the city, rehabilitated and moved to the garden site. The building is used for community meetings, nutrition classes, training sessions, yoga and meditation and other purposes. Tools, equipment, furniture, supplies, recently purchased personal protection equipment (for Covid-19 protection), seedlings etc., are all stored in the building. A handicap port-a-john has been placed on the site and is left on site, excluding the winter season. The site has outside water service to accommodate the gardens. The site also has video monitors that were installed in 2020. The Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) monitors the activities along with the garden specialist who is compensated from CDBG funds. OCED provides the gardeners with mushroom compost and organic soil. In 2023 over 100 families were served from the site and more than 4,000 pounds of produce weighed and given away to St James food pantry and Jersey Shore Food Not Bombs. Fresh produce was also given to the city workers in LB including the police and public works department. In 2023 the garden operated from April 22 through October 31, 2023. A combination lock has been added to the gate so gardeners can have free access.
Know Your Local History and feel your place
The LBEC/GT Heritage Committee is helping create the Long Branch Heritage Trail. This trail will expand the current 7 Presidents Trail to include other Long Branch historical sites such as the Neptune Hose Company.
Follow the link bellow and learn the history of the Neptune Hose Company, written by Arthur Green, West Long Branch Historian and curator of the new Long Branch Fire House Museum.
More and More Volunteers Needed!
We Love Our Volunteers!
Passive Parks in Long Branch
Ross Lake Park Native Garden
This park features native trees, shrub and perennials with signs indicating common and botanical names. It has benches where you can sit and gaze across the lake at the 100-year-old restored stone hut. Perhaps you’ll see the bald eagle that nests on Monmouth University. Or you might see the osprey or the great blue heron. Peruse our website and find out about the interesting history of this area, including the fact that 7 presidents of the United States spent their summers here.
Jackson Woods: Where Nature Meets the Arts
Jackson Woods Park was created in 1991 when a 13 acre farmhouse & wetlands property that had been slated for redevelopment was preserved as open space. Although preserved, the area was left unattended, becoming overgrown, and then further damaged by Super Storm Sandy.
In April 2018, a group of concerned citizens – the Friends of Jackson Woods – formed to revitalize the park to benefit the community. With support from the City of Long Branch and its mayor, as well as many local volunteer organizations, along with the leadership, passion and efforts of the Friends of Jackson Woods, that transformation is now well underway.
Our vision is to create a place where nature and the arts thrive together making a visit to Jackson Woods an experience to remember. We hope you enjoy your visit and return often to see the transformation unfold.
Join the Environmental Commission and the Green Team
We are looking for enthusiastic and committed residents to help join in the rewarding work of preserving and sustaining Long Branch’s natural resources and building an environmentally friendly community. We meet once a month to plan, discuss, and implement a wide range of approaches to advise local government and inform residents on environmental issues, laws, and programs.
We depend on volunteers to help us with projects all around town. If you have a project you’d like to see happen, or would like to volunteer with us, here are some projects we are doing:
- Tuesday and Friday mornings. 9 – 12 Jackson Woods Ocean Blvd
- Thursday mornings 9 – 11 Ross Lake Park 20 Elinore Ave
Looking for volunteers with the following skills:
- Social media posting
- Educational/public outreach
- Do you know that trees have a big effect on both flooding and heat island effects.
- Neighborhoods with trees are seven (7) to nine (9) degrees cooler than those without. Think about the difference between 93 and 86 degrees when you’re in the sun!
- After the remnants of Ophelia put Long Branch into a state of emergency because of flooding, let’s remember that trees absorb between 10 and 150 gallons of water a day. Everything helps.
Our Tree Inventory is coming along. Data collection is complete and now the reports and plans will be generated. The Tree Committee was trained on the Davey TreeKeeper software to help the City manage our trees. We are excited to see what the plans tell us about our tree coverage and what we should do next as far as tree planting. We want more trees, especially oak trees. Northern Red Oaks are the NJ state tree.
The following is a short list of utility friendly trees - trees that stay small and are suitable for planting under utility lines.
If you would like to plant a tree in your right of way (ROW), which is the space between the street and your sidewalk, let us know and we’ll help you pick one of these trees and obtain a permit.
Do you have comments on our tree focus. Please send them to email@example.com
State Tree of New Jersey
Northern Red Oak - NJ State Tree
Northern Red Oak Trunk
Fagaceae Quercus rubra
Northern Red Oak Acorns
In the midst of climate change, let’s keep in mind we can all help cool our city by planting trees, as many trees as you can fit comfortably on your property.
- Trees reduce energy costs up to 25% by shading buildings and protecting them from winter winds.
- Green space plays a major role in improving mental and physical health.
- Trees help absorb the sounds of traffic in urban areas by 40%.
- Planting and maintaining trees absorbs carbon dioxide in the atmosphere , mitigating the effects of climate change
- Expanding our tree canopy and maintaining the health of our tree population is a top priority for the LBEC/GT Shade Tree Committee. Trees are a major line of defense against greenhouse gas emissions and the heat island effect. Canopy cover cools our streets, prevents urban flooding, cleans our air, expands wildlife habitats, prevents soil erosion, and increases the population of pollinators and birds and beautifies our town. A diverse urban forest is better able to resist pests and diseases and has the best chance for good growth and long-term survival.
Helpful Tree Tips:
The LBEC/GT reminds you tree health can be difficult to determine, but checking your tree yearly may help you notice problems as they appear. Even healthy trees can fall down. A tree may be green and lush, but that does not guarantee that it is structurally safe.
Be sure to inspect trees any time, especially after storms. Examine the crown, branches, trunk and area around the roots for these common dangers:
- Broken, dead or hanging branches
- Cracks, fungi and cavities
- Weak trunk or branch unions
- Encircling root compressing the trunk (a flat-sided trunk at the ground level is a good indicator)
- Recent lean, especially if the soil or grass has lifted on one side
We suggest consulting a professional as pruning can be dangerous work, but it can encourage trees to develop a strong structure and reduce the likelihood of damage during severe weather. Winter is the best time to prune because branches are easy to see, diseases cannot spread, and there is minimal stress on the tree. Never prune trees within 10’ of utility lines; instead contact the local utility company. If pruning cannot be done with both feet on the ground or if power tools are required, hire an arborist.
When hiring a professional to assess your tree, look for a New Jersey licensed tree expert with proof of insurance.
Remember that a permit is required for pruning or removing trees in the planting strip between the sidewalk and curb. Permits are available at City Hall. For more information, see the Tree Owner’s Manual, Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture.
The LBEC and Green Team meet on the same nights. The Green Team meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and The LBEC meets at 7:30 p.m.
In person meetings are held at:
City Hall. 2nd floor conference room
Long Branch, NJ 07740
- September 18, 2023
- October 16, 2023
- November 20, 2023
- December 18, 2023 via ZOOM (link to follow)
- January 22, 2024 via ZOOM (link to follow)
- February 26, 2024 via ZOOM (link to follow)
- March 18, 2024
- April 22, 2024
- May 20, 2024
- June 17, 2024
- July 15, 2024
- No meeting in August
The Long Branch Environmental Commission (LBEC) was established to advocate for the protection, development and use of natural resources, including water resources, located within Long Branch.
The LBEC works collaboratively to advise and educate local government, businesses, and residents on environmental issues, laws, and programs by:
- Drafting and amending ordinances
- Inventorying and advocating for the preservation of open space
- Responding to the public regarding local environmental concerns
- Reviewing and commenting on building and development application
- Creating and updating the Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI)
You may ask what distinguishes Green Team from the Environmental Commission?
The Environmental Commission is an advisory board that works with other City commissions and boards (such as the Planning Board) to review site plans and advocate for/strengthen ordinances like the storm water management and tree preservation ordinances. It advises the City Council on various environmental issues.
The Green Team is focused on implementing actions recommended by ‘Sustainable Jersey’ (see the SJ website https://www.sustainablejersey.com/ for more information on this) and has achieved Silver certification. Green Team web page is located at https://www.longbranch.org/334/LB-Green-Team
EC Agendas & Minutes
Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
View Most Recent Agendas and Minutes on the City Agenda and Minutes for Commissions Page
Term Expires: September 30, 2025
Anyone interested in attending a meeting or seeking to volunteer can contact:
- Ash Tree Report (PDF)
- Environmental Resource Inventory (PDF)
- Tree Canopy Study (PDF)
- Community Forestry Management Plan (PDF)
- Long Branch Tree Ordinance
- Long Branch Stormwater Ordinance
- Long Branch LTA Bike Trail Report
- Impervious Cover Assessment
- Impervious Cover Reduction Action Plan