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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
5/15/02
02/37

Contact: Patricia Cabrera
609-292-9289

DEP AND RAMAPO COLLEGE SETTLE ON PLAN TO PROTECT ENVIRONMENT AND EXPAND COLLEGE FACILITIES

Trenton, NJ ---- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Ramapo State College have signed a settlement agreement, resolving the college's violations of environmental laws designed to protect freshwater wetlands. The agreement, which is outlined in an Administrative Consent Order, allows the college to continue with a plan to expand its facilities while protecting and preserving wetlands and other natural resources in the area.

"I applaud President Rodney Smith's willingness to work with us," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "This agreement proves that we do not have to compromise the health of our environment in order for our colleges and communities to continue to grow."

In March 2002, DEP ordered Ramapo to halt its construction work to expand campus facilities after discovering that significant grading and clearing had occurred within wetland transition areas without the required permit approval.

Wetlands and associated transition areas are a critical natural resource because they filter out contaminants, recharge groundwater supplies and serve as habitat for a great diversity of plants and animals. The area impacted by Ramapo's expansion is classified as an exceptional resource value wetland and is a documented habitat for wood turtles, a state threatened species.

Under this agreement, the college will:

  • Prepare and implement a DEP-approved plan to restore transition areas;

  • Sign and file a DEP-approved deed restriction to protect a 150-foot buffer around the wetlands;

  • Provide wetland buffers of 150 feet to the wetlands nearest the tributaries to Darlington Brook, which is upstream of the current development project;

  • Prepare and implement a stormwater treatment plan for all waters draining directly into Darlington Brook;

  • Permanently preserve the northern most wetland complex and adjacent u pland areas as open space to serve as habitat for wood turtles; and other species of wildlife; and,

  • Work with DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife to undertake a study of the wood turtle in the Ramapo River Basin.

Ramapo College will also pay a settlement penalty of $37,350.00 for failure to comply with state environmental laws.

 

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