2010 Summary of Activities
Fiscal Year 2010 Conservation Accomplishments
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Following a national evaluation of proposed projects, one New Jersey application was selected for easement acquisition and restoration through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The project, located in the Raritan Basin, involved the restoration of floodplain function and values to 133 acres of agricultural land. NRCS New Jersey completed restoration work on 27.6 acres within the flood plain easement purchased along the flood-prone Raritan River. Over 16,000 bare root native trees and shrubs were planted to enhance the existing riparian buffer and nearly 100 invasive trees were removed.
In the spring of 2010, approximately 28 acres of abandoned farm field were planted with 16,605 native trees and shrubs to enhance the existing riparian buffer. Once established, this vegetation will improve water quality, provide wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, and provide many other ecological services.
After the riparian planting was completed, NRCS shifted focus to another section of the easement where 71 instances of invasive species (predominantly Callery pear and European alder) were identified throughout a 30 acre area. These species were removed in hopes that, through proper vigilance, native species will re-colonize the area.
This restoration effort combines with plans for two adjacent sites enrolled in the Wetland Reserve Program to work toward a goal of eventually restoring close to 400 acres of floodplain and wetland ecosystem at the farm. The environmental education center connected to the farm focuses on land stewardship and sustainability, increasing the public benefit of these highly visible projects as demonstration sites for conservation practices. One of the sites (90 acres) will be restored under a Federal contract. The second site (300 acres) will be restored by the farm staff under NRCS inspection.