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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2005

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

DEP, PASSAIC COUNTY, WANAQUE BOROUGH
PRESERVE HIGHLANDS PROPERTY

(05/12) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the preservation of a 125-acre property located within the Highlands preservation area in Bloomingdale and Wanaque boroughs.

"DEP's preservation of this environmentally sensitive watershed land is a step forward for the protection of water resources for future generations of New Jersey residents," said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey.

The property, which is comprised of woodlands and forested wetlands, is adjacent to Norvin Green State Forest and Wanaque Reservoir. The DEP Division of Parks and Forestry will manage the newly acquired property as an addition to the 4,365-acre Norvin Green State Forest. It will be open to the public for passive recreation.

"This preservation area acquisition complements DEP's regulatory work and the Highlands Council's planning efforts," said Commissioner Campbell. "The project demonstrates the importance of forming partnerships with private landowners and county, municipal and nonprofit groups to conserve Highlands water resources."

The preservation of this property will protect water resources and endangered species habitat. The property is located within 1,000 feet of the Wanaque Reservoir. It protects portions of the watersheds of three tributaries of the reservoir, including the trout-producing West Brook.

This Highlands parcel provides habitat to a variety of threatened and endangered species. Endangered species found at the site include the red shouldered hawk, northern goshawk, and timber rattlesnake. Threatened species found at the site include the barred owl, cooper's hawk and wood turtle.

"We are continuing our efforts to acquire open space in Passaic County and we are delighted with this latest preservation effort," said Lois Cuccinello, Passaic County Freeholder and liaison to the Passaic County Open Space Committee.

DEP purchased the property from a private owner in partnership with the Passaic County Open Space Trust Fund and Wanaque Borough. The DEP Green Acres Program contributed $1,061,000 in state acquisition funds. Passaic County and Wanaque Borough jointly contributed $200,000 in Passaic County Open Space funds.

"This is an outstanding acquisition," said Wanaque Mayor Warren Hagstrom. "I want to thank the DEP Green Acres Program and Passaic County. This fits in perfectly with Norvin Green State Forest and the Wanaque Reservoir."

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.

In 2004, the Green Acres Program acquired 23,237 acres of open space. To date, Green Acres has protected 686,745 acres of open space and provided funding to develop hundreds of parks statewide. The statewide system of preserved open space and farmland totals almost 1.3 million acres.

 

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NJDEP Green Acres Program
http://www.nj.gov/dep/greenacres/

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Last Updated: February 10, 2005