TRENTON – The state’s Blue Acres program has expanded to Atlantic County, recently holding a kickoff meeting with eligible property owners in Pleasantville who are interested in participating in the program, which moves residents away from areas that are impacted by severe storms.

With the addition of Atlantic County, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Blue Acres Program is now active in nine counties. The DEP has determined that 25 properties in Pleasantville are eligible for acquisition by the program.

Since its inception shortly after Sandy struck the state, the Blue Acres program has secured funding for the purchases of 981 homes. To date, the program has closed on the purchases of 648 properties and has completed 531 demolitions. Structures are demolished and the land is converted into open space to serve as natural flood buffers.

The program has earned national recognition as a flood-mitigation best practice, including awards from FEMA and HUD.

Both federal agencies have been key partners in the effort, providing the bulk of the funding the state has used to acquire and demolish the properties. Moving vulnerable property owners out of harm’s way is an important component of adapting to sea-level rise caused by global warming, according to a release.

In addition to Pleasantville, the program is active in New Milford, Bergen County; Downe and Lawrence, Cumberland County; Newark, Essex County; East Brunswick, Old Bridge, Sayreville, South River and Woodbridge, Middlesex County; Pompton Lakes, Passaic County; Ocean and Keansburg, Monmouth County; Manville, Somerset County; and Linden and Rahway, Union County.

Participation in the program requires willing sellers and clusters of homes or entire neighborhoods.

For more information on the Blue Acres Program, call 609-984-0500 or visit:

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.