Our stewardship program ensures that preserved lands remain protected and healthy forever.
We manage more than 24,000 acres and provide training, technical assistance, advocacy and support to the state and regional conservation community. We take part in scientific research to study sensitive ecosystems and their distinctive animal and plant communities. In many areas around the state, we work to restore damaged habitats, monitor conservation easements, and promote public access to natural land.
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In 2012, we completed the final phase of a wetlands restoration at the Franklin Parker Preserve in the Pinelands. This implements recreation and public access plan for the preserve, including the creation of 20 miles of hiking trails, parking areas, informational kiosks and trail maps. We continue working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service on this large-scale wetlands restoration, which ultimately will convert 1,100 acres of agricultural wetlands back to natural wetland communities. Together, we carried out the first phase of the restoration in 2007, followed by a second phase including topographic alteration of 554 acres of former cranberry bogs. We retained professionals from Ducks Unlimited to collect elevation data and develop engineering designs for the final phase, which involves the replacement of water control structures.
At the Apshawa Preserve in Passaic County, we are continuing efforts on a 300-acre forest restoration project, where we have installed and now maintain deer fencing, removing invasive species, and planting native trees and shrubs. We were awarded a $125,000 grant from the National Forest Foundation for this large-scale reforestation effort, as well as some $20,000 worth of donated plants to enhance the native plant community. Efforts to move deer out of the fenced preserve have been largely successful and are continuing. More about Apshawa restoration project >>
In Hunterdon County, we are working to eliminate the invasive Chinese pond mussel, a damaging mollusk that is currently causing serious problems across Europe. We are working to develop a management vision for one of our recent land acquisitions, the 230-acre Borgenicht tract in Washington Township, Morris County, now known as the Maureen Ogden Preserve (formerly the Drakestown Preserve), as well as the magnificent 160-acre Hill and Dale Farm in Tewksbury Township, Hunterdon County.
We are fortunate to have many volunteers - including employees of New Jersey corporations that sponsor special volunteer days - who assist us with our stewardship work. Stewardship volunteers help with many tasks, including blazing trails, picking up litter, removing invasive plants and planting native trees, bushes and flowers.
For more information about land stewardship programs, contact Tim Morris, Director of Stewardship, or call 908-234-1225.
As stewards of the land, we are in the business of perpetuity.