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Mercer County awarded tidal freshwater wetlands restoration grant

Post Date:10/19/2017 2:30 PM
HAMILTON, N.J. — Mercer County has recently been awarded a grant to restore the health of the tidal freshwater wetlands at John A. Roebling Park in Hamilton Township. The grant was awarded by the Green Acres Program, which was created in 1961 to meet New Jersey’s growing recreation and conservation needs.

Implemented by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Local Government Stewardship grant supports government agencies such as Mercer County in their efforts to preserve and enhance the natural environment. In 2017, a total of $2,481,469 was requested by Local Government Grant applications and $1,382,079 was approved to be funded. Mercer County secured $59,350 of these funds for the restoration after this competitive review process.

In addition to the grant received by Green Acres, matching funds will be provided by the Mercer County Open Space Preservation Program to execute the project. This program is funded through the Mercer County Open Space Preservation Trust Fund Tax. In 2012, Mercer County voters approved by referendum that up to 10 percent of the County Open Space Tax can be allocated for stewardship. In 2016, $10.8 million was collected in open space taxes, securing more than $1 million to be used specifically for stewardship activities. This funding pool will provide $59,350 for the tidal freshwater wetlands restoration, applying Mercer County taxpayers’ money directly to environmental restoration.

“Mercer County thanks the Department of Environmental Protection for supporting our efforts to improve and protect this vital and unique ecosystem,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “Season after season, new visitors discover the John A. Roebling Park and surrounding Abbott Marsh, and it is our goal to restore this environment so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.”

The project area in Roebling Park is part of the Abbott Marshlands, a tidal freshwater marsh ecosystem. These marshes are one of the most important and rare habitats in New Jersey, providing water quality value, flood protection and critical wildlife habitat. This ambitious restoration aims to rid the marsh of nonnative and invasive plants, thereby improving the diversity of the native habitat and returning the marsh to a more natural state.
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