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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2004

Contact: Peter Boger
(609) 984-1795

DEP RECEIVES $1 MILLION GRANT TO RESTORE WETLANDS
IN LOWER COHANSEY RIVER WATERSHED

(04/20) TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that it had received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's North American Waterfowl Conservation Act to restore tidal wetlands along the Delaware Bay in the Lower Cohansey River Watershed in Cumberland County.

"This significant wetlands protection will benefit local residents and the environment," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "More than 70 percent of the acres slated for protection and restoration comprise vanishing wetland habitat, critical not only to fish and wildlife but also to local residents and farmers."

The restoration project will focus on enhancing the Lower Cohansey River Watershed for waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, and raptors. The area's unique habitat provides critical resting, feeding and nesting areas for these bird species. Improvements will also focus on the habitat for freshwater spawning species such as alewife and blueback herring.

Restoration will enhance the surrounding marshes by managing the area's water level through the rebuilding of a dike and the placement of water control structures to regulate tidal flow and to control flooding. These enhancements will provide the only managed exposed mud flat on the New Jersey side of Delaware Bay for shorebird feeding during high tide.

As the land and wildlife respond to restoration efforts, eco-tourism may flourish with increased recreational opportunities such as fishing, crabbing and birding for area visitors.

Local residents will also benefit from the project's flood control protecting private homes and farms as well as protecting an established coastal evacuation route. Water management efforts will also help prevent any potential oil spills in Delaware Bay from reaching the area.

The grant funding is part of a $3 million cooperative restoration project involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DEP, the Cumberland County Engineering Office, Ducks Unlimited, and the New Jersey Waterfowl Stamp Advisory Committee. The work is expected to begin in early 2005 and will take approximately two years to complete.

 

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