Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NJ preserving 544 acres in Barnegat Bay watershed

Barnegat Bay - New Jersey Future photo

Agreement on ways to combat the environmental degradation of New Jersey's Barnegat Bay is not easy to come by, but the preservation of relatively undeveloped watershed land is a priority on almost everyone's list.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) made a nice contribution
to that effort today with the purchase of a conservation easement for a 544-acre tract from the Jersey Shore Boy Scout Council and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

The $1.1 million agreement will preserve the Joseph A. Citta Boy Scout Reservation Camp in Ocean Township, which contains camping facilities used by the Boy Scouts and many other outdoor user groups.

The Pine Barrens property, which also offers public hiking trails, is located in the headwaters of the Oyster Creek, a tributary to Barnegat Bay.

An NJDEP news release reports that the land will link:

"...Ocean County’s Wells Mill Park to other preserve land in the Forked River Mountains, an ecologically unique area of rolling forests in the Pinelands National Reserve. The Scouts will be able to continue to own and manage the camp for camping and recreational use, and in turn have extinguished their development rights on the property while agreeing to providing a public trail system linking other open space.
As part of the 544-acre preservation deal, the Conservation Foundation assigned to the DEP an 84-acre conservation easement that it held since the 1970s on a portion of the Citta Camp. This acreage was included in the purchase agreement at no cost to the state.
This 544-acre easement acquisition brings the state’s total of preserved land in the Barnegat Bay watershed to 2,895 acres since Governor Christie announced his comprehensive 10-point Barnegat Bay restoration plan in December of 2010.

The easement purchase is financed by $1.1 million in voter-approved state Green Acres Program funds. Ocean County provided funding for the survey work needed for the acquisition. 

Stewardship of this easement will be provided by DEP’s Green Acres Program and the Division of Parks and Forestry as part of Brendan T. Byrne State Forest. The trails through the Boy Scout Camp will be an expansion of the trail system at Wells Mill County Park and open for public use.

Related environmental news stories:
Are Barnegat Bay fixes ignoring an overriding problem?

NJ's largest paper wants more action on Barnegat Bay 

Rutgers prof warns: Action needed to save Barnegat Bay

For  thorough coverage of environmental news, issues, legislation and regulation in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, try a 
FREE subscription to EnviroPolitics, our daily newsletter that also tracks environment/energy bills--from introduction to enactment

Subscribe here to view all our YouTube videos

Repost this article