Tuesday, February 2, 2010

1600 more acres preserved in NJ Pinelands















The New Jersey Pinelands Commission reports big environmental news today--the dedication of more than $1.9 million to preserve 1,612 acres in Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May and Ocean counties.

John Stokes, the commission's executive director, said the purchases are for "outstanding natural resources such as habitat for rare Pinelands plants and animals, and they connect large, adjacent properties that also have been permanently preserved."

The 13 properties purchased for preservation include:

* The Medford and Evesham Sub-regional Planning Area in Burlington County: (one property totaling 688 acres, up to $115,000 allocated to the Burlington County Farmland Preservation Program);

* The Toms River Sub-Regional Planning Area in Jackson Township, Ocean County: (two projects totaling 357 acres, up to $17,325 to the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust and up to $1,000,000 to the Trust for Public Land);

* The Forked River Mountain Area in Ocean Township (one project totaling 268 acres, up to $363,000 to the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust)

* The Preservation Area of Bass River Township, Burlington County: (three projects totaling 112 acres, and a total of up to $65,825 allocated to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation);

* The Special Agricultural Production and Infill Development areas of Woodland Township, Burlington County: (one project totaling 61 acres, up
to $74,250 allocated to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation; Requires concurrent approval by the Pinelands Commission);

* The Preservation Area of Woodland Township, Burlington County: (two projects totaling 56 acres, and a total of up to $67,500 allocated to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation);

* The Batsto River Headwaters in Shamong Township, Burlington County: (one project totaling 39 acres, up to $200,713 allocated to Shamong Township);

* The Forest Area of Dennis Township, Cape May County: (one project totaling 25 acres, up to $57,750 allocated to The Nature Conservancy); and

* The Forest Area of Estell Manor, Atlantic County: (one project totaling 5 acres, up to $5,445 allocated to The Nature Conservancy)

The 13 properties represent the fourth round of funding that the Commission’s Permanent Land Protection Committee has allocated for land acquisition. In the previous three rounds, 18 properties totaling 3,027 acres were allocated funding at a total fair market value of more than $18 million.

Funding for the purchases results from a 2004 agreement with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to permit the construction and upgrade of an electric transmission line through eastern portions of the Pinelands. Under the agreement, a special fund was established to further protect the unique resources of the Pinelands Area.

The utility that built the transmission lines, Atlantic City Electric (formerly Conectiv), provided $13 million to establish the Fund.

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