DEP AND FUNDING PARTNERS PRESERVE 150 ACRES IN FRENCHTOWN
(07/12) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection
Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced the acquisition of
150 acres of open space along the Delaware River, one of the largest
undeveloped tracts in Hunterdon County.
"Home to a high-quality waterway and two rare bird species,
this beautiful piece of property was at risk for development, and
we are proud to play a role in preserving it," said Commissioner
Jackson. "This scenic land and its wealth of natural resources
will be protected for the benefit of all New Jerseyans and future
The $4.1 million acquisition was made possible by funding from
the Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation,
Frenchtown Borough, Hunterdon County and the Hunterdon Land Trust
Located along Route 29 in Frenchtown, the property was purchased
from a private owner and will be managed by DEP's Division of Parks
and Forestry as part of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park.
The tract consists of open fields and forested land and features
a high-quality Category One stream, the Nishisakawick Creek, which
traverses the property and flows into the Delaware River. A pair
of osprey, a threatened species in New Jersey, was confirmed at
the site in 2006. The habitat is also ideal for wintering Northern
Saw-Whet owls as well as the Long-Eared owl, another threatened
species in New Jersey.
To assist with the purchase, DEP's Green Acres program contributed
$1.3 million in state acquisition funds and another $1.1 million
in grants and loans to the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance and Frenchtown
Borough. Additionally, the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance contributed
$779,000 toward the purchase, including a grant of $389,500 from
the Hunterdon County Open Space Trust Fund. Frenchtown provided
funding in the amount of $709,000.
Viewed by DOT as a critical tract within the Route 29 Scenic Byway,
the agency gave additional money toward the acquisition, providing
the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance with $1 million in Federal Transportation
Enhancement funds and another $300, 000 in Scenic Byway Program
"Preserving open space in New Jersey is critical for protecting
our environment, upholding our quality of life, and minimizing unplanned
sprawl," said U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12). "This is a
perfect example of how government at all levels can work together
to implement policies beneficial to the public and to future generations."
"The development of this property would have had a detrimental
impact on the scenic view shed of Route 29, the state's first designated
scenic byway," said DOT Commissioner Kolluri. "Just as
importantly, development would have caused an increase in traffic
on the byway, negatively impacting the byway traveling experience."
The largest undeveloped tract of land in Frenchtown, the parcel
is critical to the Borough's plan to create a greenbelt, which will
connect state and municipal parkland. The Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance
will work with DEP's Division of Parks and Forestry to pursue special
management projects and funding including trail development, public
education programs and species habitat restoration.
"We are pleased to have played a lead role in the preservation
of this large tract of land and that such a diverse representation
of partners came together to protect a property which would otherwise
have been developed with high density housing, detrimentally impacting
the scenic beauty and natural resources of the river corridor,"
said Margaret Waldock, executive director of the Hunterdon Land
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 forests, wildlife management areas and natural
In 2006, Green Acres preserved or assisted in preserving 16,000
acres of open space. Since its inception in 1961, the program has
protected more than 600,000 acres of open space, in addition to
providing funding for the development of hundreds of parks throughout
New Jersey. New Jersey's statewide system of preserved open space
and farmland now amounts to over 1.3 million acres.