New Jersey Land Preservation Initiative Moves Forward
DEP Announces Sourlands Acquisitions
(04/36) WEST AMWELL- In
response to Governor McGreevey's call for the preservation
of open space, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the preservation
of eight significant properties in the Sourland Mountain
region. The DEP Green Acres program preserved the properties,
which are located in East Amwell Township, Hopewell Township
and West Amwell Township.
"The Sourland Mountain region is a precious New Jersey
resource facing tremendous growth pressure," said
Governor McGreevey. "By preserving these properties,
the state of New Jersey is protecting biodiversity and
drinking water resources and ensuring a promising future
for an area threatened by rapid development."
The Sourland Mountain region is a 94 square mile area
in Hunterdon, Mercer and Somerset Counties noted for its
water resources and mature, intact forests and wetlands.
It contains portions of Lambertville, East Amwell Township,
Hillsborough Township, Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township,
Montgomery Township and West Amwell Township.
"By preserving these properties in East Amwell, Hopewell
and West Amwell, the State of New Jersey will protect valuable
water resources, conserve lush forests and wetlands and
provide habitat for vulnerable endangered species so that
future generations of these species might thrive," Campbell
Standing with local, state government
and community leaders at Fiddler's Creek Farm, Campbell
announced the acquisition of the 197-acre turkey farm
located in West Amwell. The preservation of Fiddler's
Creek Farm creates a continuous expanse of preserved
land connecting the Delaware River Greenway and the Sourland
Mountain Greenway. Fiddler's Creek Farm consists of forested
stream corridor, hayfields and pasture and commands a
360-degree view of the surrounding countryside, the Delaware
River and Bowman's Tower in Pennsylvania. A branch of
Moores Creek, which supports 18 species of fish, flows
through the property, connecting it to other preserved
properties including the Howell Living History Farm and
Baldpate Mountain. Delaware & Raritan Greenway,
the Green Acres Program Hunterdon County and West Amwell
Township were partners in the preservation of Fiddler's
The Delaware & Raritan Greenway
was instrumental in protecting Fiddler's Creek Farm and
three additional Sourlands properties announced today.
"The preservation of the eight properties announced
today by Commissioner Campbell represents a giant step forward
in the protection of the Sourlands region," Delaware & Raritan
Greenway Executive Director Linda J. Mead. "The Sourlands
are a critical natural resource for central New Jersey. The
source of the headwaters for the streams that provide the
drinking water for over 1 million people and the deep forest
breeding habitat essential to the survival of many species
of neo-tropical birds are all located in the Sourlands. D&R
Greenway is proud to be a partner with the DEP Green Acres
Program in the ongoing initiative to preserve the Sourlands
and complete the Sourlands Greenway."
In addition to Fiddler's Creek Farm, Commissioner Campbell
announced the preservation of the following properties,
all of which will adjoin other preserved lands to create
a greenway of open space in the Sourland Mountain region.
Each of the properties plays an integral role in maintaining
the quality of the local watershed, and their protection
will further Governor McGreevey's goal of safeguarding
New Jersey's drinking water resources.
- DEP purchased three wooded West Amwell properties
totaling 288 acres and a 55-acre Hopewell Township tract
that will be important components of the Crossroads of
the American Revolution greenway. In 2003, Governor McGreevey
commemorated the 225th anniversary of the Battle of Monmouth
by appropriating $10 million for the Crossroads of American
Revolution initiative to preserve Revolutionary War-era
historical sites such as battlegrounds, barracks, revolutionary
leaders' homes and encampment sites. When completed,
the open space preserved under the Crossroads of the
American Revolution project will extend west toward historic
Lambertville, north toward the Sourland Mountains and
south to the Washington Crossing State Park.
- DEP preserved a 58-acre East
Amwell Township property that consists of woodlands,
vernal pools and cleared farm fields. This property
will be linked to the 1000-acre Northern Stony Brook
Preserve. Delaware & Raritan
Greenway contributed to the preservation of this property.
- DEP acquired a 31-acre East
Amwell Twp property, which consists of wooded areas
and wetlands, purchased in partnership with D &R Greenway, which adjoins the Lindbergh Estate
and the D&R Greenway's Bromley Preserve. Delaware & Raritan
Greenway assisted in the preservation of this property.
- DEP protected a 15-acre, wooded
West Amwell Township property that adjoins the United
Water Property preserved in 2003 and other preserved
lands in the Sourlands and is a critical link for connecting
lands. Delaware & Raritan
Greenway also helped to preserve this property.
The Sourlands region contains 25,000
acres of contiguous forest, 7,500 acres of wetlands and
18,186 acres of agricultural land (as of 1995) in active
production. Groundwater recharge and various streams
in the Sourlands supply the Delaware & Raritan
Canal, which provides water to about one million New Jersey
The Sourlands region's forests and wetlands provide habitat
to threatened and endangered animal species including
the barred owl, bobcat, Cooper's hawk, grasshopper sparrow,
savannah sparrow, upland sandpiper and wood turtle. In
addition, the Sourlands serves as a stopover area for
migratory birds that travel between South and Central
America and the Arctic as well as forest birds migrating
between Washington, D.C., and Boston. The area also supports
a large population of deep-woods birds such as scarlet
tanagers and barred owls.
Preserving open space in the Sourland Mountain region is
among the Green Acres Program's top priorities. Since Governor
McGreevey took office, the Green Acres Program has protected
a total of 2,075 acres in the Sourlands region. Under its
State Land Acquisition Program, Green Acres preserved 1,418
acres at a cost of $9.23 million. Green Acres also has
several active projects and is negotiating with multiple
landowners to purchase nearly 500 additional acres through
the State Land Acquisition Program at a projected cost
of $2.8 million.
The Green Acres Program also made expenditures of $2.27
million to local partners to protect 656.7 acres in the
Sourlands and approved an additional $7.45 million for
local land acquisition in the Sourland Mountain region
under the McGreevey Administration.
Since Governor McGreevey took office, the Green Acres
Program has acquired 51,428 acres of open space -32,923
acres for state projects, 10,232 acres for local projects
and 8,273 acres for nonprofit groups. To date, the Green
Acres Program has protected more than 533,434 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 1.24 million acres.
For more information about the Green Acres
program, visit the website at www.nj.gov/dep/greenacres.