Date: 10/12/18 7:56 am
From: Linda Mack <lj.mack...>
Subject: [JERSEYBI] FW: Hudson Farm preservation - 2,200 acres

Worth the read - POSITIVE NEWS.

Linda Mack,

Monmouth Beach, NJ




DEP and other funders join forces to acquire Hudson Farm properties in
Sussex County, saving forests, streams, and mountaintops

Credit: Sandy Urgo/LCNJ

In the largest preservation deal in six years, the state and various
partners have agreed to acquire more than 2,200 acres of watershed land in
the New Jersey Highlands.

The $5.1 million acquisition by the Department of Environmental Protection,
New Jersey Highlands Council, and nonprofit groups will preserve 2,218 acres
of rolling woodlands in Sussex County known as the Hudson Farm properties.

The deal, in the works since 2004, led to an initial acquisition of 200
acres in Byram Township five years later. The most recent purchase will
protect forests, miles of streams, and hills on land at the headwaters of
the Musconetcong River.

"This is one of the largest state-coordinated preservation efforts in New
Jersey in years,'' said Ray Bukowski, assistant commissioner for natural and
historic resources at the DEP.

The acquisition of the conservation easements for the properties is funded
by $2.2 million from the Green Acres program, $2 million from the Highlands
Council, and $885,000 from the Land Conservancy of New Jersey and the
William Penn Foundation through the Open Space Institute, with matching
grants from Green Acres.

Mountaintops, streams, and ponds

The property includes 16 different mountaintops, 17 miles of stream banks,
and nine different ponds in Byram Township, Hopatcong Borough and Sparta
Township, according to David Epstein, president of the land conservancy.

"This is a historic easement acquisition in the state,'' Epstein said. "By
acquiring this easement, we have helped protect water quality for millions
of residents in two states who rely on the Delaware watershed.''

The land conservancy's Hudson Farm project is supported by a $445,000 grant
from the Open Space Institute's Delaware River Watershed Initiative, which
seeks to protect water quality in the Delaware River Basin. The basin
provides drinking water to 15 million-plus people in four states.

High-quality, core woodlands

"The Hudson Farm property contains some of the last remaining high-quality,
core forests in the New Jersey Highlands,'' said Lisa Plevin, executive
director of the Highlands Council. "Preserving these lands from future
development ensures habitat protection for several rare, threatened, and
endangered species and the preservation of vital watershed lands.''

The DEP has identified the property as habitat for a number of species,
including the state-endangered bobcat, barred owl, red-shouldered hawk, and
bald eagle, as well as the state-threatened red-headed woodpecker.

With the most recent acquisition, the total amount of preserved land totals
3,402 acres, or more than 5 square miles, according to Epstein. That
includes more than 10 miles of trails, including 4.6 miles of the Highlands
Trail, which begins at the Hudson River in New York and extends to Delaware
River, he said.

"It's a rare day when you can protect 8 percent of a watershed with one
single transaction,'' Peter Howell, executive vice president of the Open
Space Institute, referring to the Musconetcong Watershed.

"Protecting the unspoiled forests surrounding the Delaware River headwaters
is critical if we want to preserve the drinking water of the watershed's 15
million residents,'' Howell said.

The state has protected more than 650,000 acres of land through its Green
Acres program over the past few decades.

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