A federally-designated “Wild and Scenic” river, the Maurice River rises in Gloucester and Salem Counties. Its upper branches merge near Union Lake in Millville, Cumberland County, and flow south nearly 20 miles to Maurice River Cove before flowing into the Delaware Bay. Tributaries include the Menantico, Manumuskin and Muskee rivers, and the lower section is flanked by salt marsh.
Located along the Atlantic flyway, the Maurice River’s clean waters and habitats are vitally important to the migration of shorebirds, songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, rails, and fish. The river has an extensive maritime history centered around oystering, fishing and boating. This rich cultural background, combined with its unparalleled natural resources, led to the inclusion of the river system in the Wild and Scenic program in 1993.
The Maurice River watershed contains habitat for numerous threatened and endangered plant, animal, and bird species. The river supports New Jersey’s largest stand of wild rice, and is home to more than half of the non-marine mammal animal species that the state has recognized as endangered.
The river provides a critical link between the Pinelands National Preserve and the Delaware Estuary — both nationally and internationally important. The Maurice serves as the western boundary of the Pinelands. The river corridor includes the cities of Vineland and Millville, the townships of Maurice River, Commercial, and Buena Vista.
In order to protect the Maurice and its 386 square miles of watershed lands, New Jersey Conservation Foundation seeks opportunities to preserve property in this project area.
Since 1981, New Jersey Conservation Foundation has helped preserve over 3,100 acres of land along the Maurice River. In late 2010, the Foundation accepted the donation of two parcels in Millville. One is located along the Chatfield Branch of the Maurice River, and the second is adjacent to previously preserved conservation lands.
For more information about preserving land in this region, contact Fran Rapa, Delaware Bayshore regional manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 856-823-1021.
By Michele S. Byers,