State DEP Joins Readington Township to Preserve 438 Acres
(02/92) Trenton -- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Green Acres Program announces the permanent preservation of 438 acres of open space along the South Branch of the Raritan River in Readington Township.
"This land preservation marks our shared commitment to protect New Jersey's valuable open space and watershed areas," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Acquisitions like this help to protect groundwater recharge and water quality in the entire Raritan River corridor - protection that is especially significant during the ongoing drought emergency."
DEP acquired 343 acres in fee and protected another 82 acres with conservation easements at a total cost to the state of $4.91 million. The newly protected land includes rolling open grasslands, some mature woodland, wetlands and floodplain areas and the headwater and two tributaries of the South Branch of the Raritan. The land protected through easements includes farms with houses and outbuildings.
Open space preservation is an ongoing initiative in Readington Township. The township already owns a conservation easement on an adjacent 50-acre parcel and is under contract to purchase another 142 acres of open space contiguous to the property.
"I am proud that Readington has made such significant strides in land protection," said Mayor Gerard Shamey of Readington Township. "When you drive into the area, it is evident that Readington has a strong commitment to the protection of our natural resources. We are happy to partner with the DEP in this acquisition," he added.
Township officials are eager to protect large areas of open land within their borders. Julia Allen, a member of the Readington Township Committee added, "To upgrade the water quality, wildlife habitat, and scenic views, we have to save large expanses of land. Small pieces here and there will not do it."
Green Acres works with landowners, local governments, and nonprofit agencies to protect land through purchase, donation, and conservation easement. The program acquires land for state parks, forests, natural areas, and wildlife management areas. Green Acres also provides low interest loans and grants to local governments and nonprofit agencies to develop outdoor recreation facilities.
For more information or to preserve your land, call Green Acres at 609-984-0500 or visit the Green Acres web site at www.state.nj.us/dep/greenacres.