Bringing wildlife habitats closer to home in NJ
New Jersey's top Republican Assembly leader is encouraging all Garden State homeowners to consider creating a wildlife habitat on part of their property.
Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) said in suburbia almost everyone just has a lawn, but it would be great to "put in indigenous or native species, for example those type of plants that attract wildlife, attract the birds, and is good for the environment."
At the same time, he said he has proposed legislation that would also keep homeowners from getting fined for certain plantings.
"(The legislation would) protect you from let's say a code enforcement official who thinks, 'oh those are just weeds,' and you'd be certified. Lawns are terrific but they use a lot of water, indigenous species don't. "It also provides clean air, and there's nothing wrong with helping birds or bees whatsoever, they're good for suburbia."
The legislation would establish a private wildlife habitat certification program that would be overseen by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.
Bramnick said he got the idea from his wife, Pat Brentano, an environmental artist.
"I learned from her and from the Audubon Society that this is not a bad idea, I've seen this on golf courses, I've seen this in corporate areas where they've taken a small portion of their land and done the same thing," he said. "Once people read about it and hear about they'll think it's probably a pretty good idea for the earth."
The measure was passed unanimously in the Assembly, and it awaits action in the Upper House.