5.5 acres along Salem River preserved in Woodstown
Jan 9, 2019
WOODSTOWN – At less than two square miles, the borough of Woodstown in Salem County is preserving its small town character, open spaces and unique natural resources. Woodstown is a classic “doughnut-hole” community, completely surrounded by the much larger and rural Pilesgrove Township. The two towns are closely knit, sharing many community resources, services and civic organizations.
With the help of New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Woodstown Borough recently purchased 5.5 wooded acres along the Salem River from the LaRosa family for $28,000 to add to its growing inventory of parks and greenways. The project was led by the borough’s Open Space Advisory Committee, which has been active since 2005.
The property supports bald eagle foraging habitat and Coopers hawk breeding habitat, and is less than 500 feet from an active bald eagle nest. It is also habitat for freshwater mussels known as triangle floaters, listed by the state as a threatened species.
The newly-preserved property expands the borough’s Salem River Greenway and is adjacent to and near other preserved properties.
“We’re very pleased to help Woodstown preserve this beautiful property,” said Michele S. Byers, Executive Director. “New Jersey Conservation has been preserving land in and around Woodstown for 25 years, and we know how strongly residents feel about protecting the corridor of the Salem River.”
“Woodstown Borough Council is fortunate to have the support of a dedicated Open Space Committee, the state Green Acres Program and non-profit organizations such as New Jersey Conservation,” said Borough Councilman John Hall, who serves as the open space liaison. “Nowadays, it takes partnerships and teamwork to accomplish meaningful results. Through this approach, we’ve had good success achieving Woodstown’s land preservation goals.”
Acquisition of the LaRosa property was funded by the borough’s Open Space Trust Fund and a Planning Incentive Grant from the New Jersey Green Acres Program. New Jersey Conservation contributed staff time and technical support. The William Penn Foundation funded the appraisal costs.
In the past five years, New Jersey Conservation has assisted with the acquisition of several properties in Woodstown that contribute to greenways around the borough and along waterways like the Salem River.
At the heart of the borough’s open space plan is a vision for a system of interconnected parks, trails and natural areas to provide a host of recreational, educational and scenic benefits. The vision includes proposed greenways along the Salem River and Chestnut Run, as well as a greenbelt surrounding much of the borough as a way preserving the historic municipality’s small-town character and linking existing public facilities like Marlton Park, Watson Park and Woodstown High School.
“We are pleased to have partnered in the preservation of this important piece of land, which builds upon ongoing efforts to protect the beautiful Salem River watershed and the amazing diversity of wildlife it supports,” said Martha Sapp, Green Acres Program administrator. “Communities in this area have shown an ongoing commitment to protecting the character of the watershed for the enjoyment of future generations.”
Preserving land along the Salem River also protects drinking water. The land sits atop the vulnerable Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer, South Jersey’s largest source of fresh water. As part of an effort to protect the surface and groundwater systems of the aquifer, the William Penn Foundation contributed to the administrative costs through the Delaware River Watershed Initiative. Funds were awarded through a program administered by the Open Space Institute.
About New Jersey Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private nonprofit that preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, New Jersey Conservation has protected 125,000 acres of open space – from the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, from farms to forests to urban and suburban parks. For more information about the Foundation’s programs and preserves, go to www.njconservation.org or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).
The State We're In
By Michele S. Byers,