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October 26, 2004

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795


Former Clay Mine Contains Bird Habitat, Water Resources, Wetlands

(04/125) Trenton -- Emphasizing the importance of preserving water resources and habitat, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the acquisition of the S.V. Farming Property, a 597.6-acre former clay mine in Quinton Township, Salem County. DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife will administer the property as part of the Maskells Mill Pond Wildlife Management Area.

"The S.V. Farming Property is a tremendous addition to this wildlife management area," said Governor James E. McGreevey. "Preserving this property expands our ability to improve and protect water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in the South Jersey region and reinforces our commitment to environmental protection throughout the state. Whether we're preserving land, improving air quality or protecting our waterways from pollution, we are keeping our promise to make life better for New Jersey's families and children."

The conservation of S.V. Farming will protect the headwaters of Stow Creek, which discharges into the Delaware Bay. The S.V. Farming tract is mainly comprised of forested wetlands and uplands that are ideal for groundwater recharge. The Maskells Mill Pond Wildlife Management Area supports a diverse bird population including the bald eagle, prairie warbler, scarlet tanager, wood thrush and bobwhite quail.

"This acquisition underscores the importance of protecting New Jersey's natural resources and restoring those that have been damaged or destroyed," said Commissioner Campbell. "In this case, almost 20 acres of mined wetlands have been restored and permanently preserved and can once again serve as critical habitat for wildlife."

An extensive wetlands restoration project mitigated the effects of mining activity previously undertaken on the property. The ten-year project restored of 18.4 acres of high resource wetlands and the created an additional 9.9 acres of wetlands.

The DEP Green Acres Program purchased the $550,000 S.V. Farming site from Waste Management, Inc. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will reimburse the Green Acres Program $109,000 of the acquisition cost through a National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant.

The DEP Green Acres Program purchases land to protect environmentally sensitive open space, water resources and other significant natural and historical open space. Land acquired becomes part of the statewide system of parks and forest, wildlife management areas and natural areas.

Since Governor McGreevey took office, the Green Acres Program has acquired 68,952 acres of open space-45,873 acres for state projects, 11,797 acres for local projects and 11,282 acres for nonprofit groups. To date, the Green Acres Program has protected more than 551,358 acres of open space and provided funding to develop hundreds of parks statewide. The statewide system of preserved open space and farmland totals more than 1.27 million acres.



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