Trenton, NJ – To further protect the 1,250 acres of wetlands and additional 1,700 acres of publicly owned uplands to the Hamilton-Trenton-Bordentown Marsh, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has entered into a Cooperating Stewardship Agreement Plan with eight agencies to enhance protection and preservation of the marsh.
At a ceremonial signing this morning, Commissioner Bob Martin joined officials from the Department of Transportation, NJ Transit, PSEG, D&R Greenway Land Trust, Friends for the Marsh, Mercer County, Hamilton Township and the City of Trenton in executing the agreement.
“We’re pleased to be partnering with these groups to ensure that this diverse landscape, home to more than a thousand species of plants and animals and which holds so much historical significance to the State, is preserved,” said Commissioner Martin. “The Christie Administration is committed to the preservation of the State’s valuable natural resources. The DEP looks forward to playing an active role in the implementation of the stewardship plan and will provide expertise and technical support to facilitate its goals.”
The marsh is an extensive open space surrounded by Hamilton, Trenton, Bordentown Township and Bordentown City. It includes nearly 3,000 acres where visitors can enjoy eight miles of public walking trails, 11 miles of canoe and kayak trails, opportunities for environmental education, picnicking, hunting, fishing, and various boating activities.
The other organizations approached DEP and key State agencies to join a Cooperative Stewardship Council that would monitor and assist in implementing the goals of the Stewardship Plan outlined by Friends for the Marsh and D&R Greenway. DEP will designate a representative to sit on the council created by the agreement and will provide expertise and technical support. It formally codifies DEP’s ongoing commitment to the preservation and interpretation of the marsh. (To access the Cooperating Stewardship Agreement Plan, click here).
By signing the agreement, DEP will designate a representative to sit on the council and offer technical support for protecting and preserving the marsh. The stewardship plan consists of six goals to be achieved over a 10-year time period:
1) Protection and Preservation * Permanently protect the habitats, plants and animals, cultural resources, and conservation value of the marsh;
2) Stewardship * Maintain the integrity of the natural and cultural resources of the marsh through good stewardship practices following resource management guidelines;
3) Education * Use the marsh as an educational site, integrating the natural and human history with the uniqueness of these urban wetlands in order to foster knowledge, understanding, and action. Work with the marsh nature and interpretive center to promote marsh education;
4) Recreation * Provide for the safe enjoyment and recreational use of the marsh by the visiting public;
5) Marsh Identification and Interpretation * Provide opportunities for interpretation of the many natural and cultural components of the marsh, and create and promote an identity consistent with the Abbott Farm National Historic Landmark Interpretive Plan;
6) Coordinated Management and Organization * Develop a concise overall management protocol and organizational structure for all land owned by public agencies, including municipal, county and State, within the marsh boundaries to implement plan goals.
The marsh is the northernmost tidal freshwater wetland on the Delaware River. Its diverse habitats are home to over 1,200 species of identified plants and animals. It also has cultural significance, with evidence that Native Americans lived here thousands of years ago.
Throughout the years, Friends for the Marsh and D&R Greenway Land Trust have maintained the marsh with the ongoing support of DEP. Over the years, DEP’s Green Acres Program has provided grants to D&R Greenway Land Trust and Mercer County for acquisition of land within the marsh that became part of the D&R Canal State Park.
Since 2003, the Green Acres State Acquisition Program has invested $18.6 million to acquire 1,200 acres adjacent to the D&R Canal State Park, which runs along the Delaware River creating a network of parks and stretches up to New Brunswick. The marsh is a key component.
In Mercer County, Green Acres Local and Nonprofit Funding Assistance helped the county, municipalities and D&R Greenway to preserve lands along the tributaries of the Delaware River, including Crosswicks Creek. For this project, Mercer County received approximately $3,170,600 in Green Acres funding and is eligible to receive an additional $1,675,000 to preserve 273 acres along the Crosswicks Creek and within the Hamilton-Trenton-Bordentown Marsh. D&R Greenway received approximately $399,000 in Green Acres nonprofit grant funds to preserve 6.53 acres along the Hamilton-Trenton-Bordentown Marsh.
Most recently, a Green Acres development matching grant for $500,000 was awarded to D&R Greenway which is working with Mercer County for an interpretive educational center within the marsh.