Sunday, July 3, 2011

More and More Preserved Land (Part One)

This is another "long time coming" round-up of the latest preservation acquisitions throughout the state. So, I may separate this into several posts. Here we go!

407 acres of Gloucester County Farmland to be preserved

WOODBURY, NJ - Gloucester County Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger and Freeholder Frank J. DiMarco announced Friday that six different farms in three municipalities will be permanently preserved. Two of the farms are located in Woolwich, one in South Harrison and three in Franklin Township.
"There were approvals for 89 single family homes to be developed on the Woolwich farms, and 53 more on the South Harrison Farm. When you look at the enormous growth in Woolwich and find ways to permanently preserve land for farming instead of becoming housing developments you make a big impact on the quality of life for everyone," said Freeholder Director Damminger.
The farms to be preserved under the County's traditional Farmland Preservation Program that were approved at Thursday night's Freeholder meeting include a 91.4 acre farm in Woolwich, a 129 acre parcel in Woolwich, and a 31.2 acre farm in South Harrison. These properties all had municipal approval for housing developments. Under the County Farmland Preservation Program, the county is eligible for a 60% reimbursement from the State for the acquisition costs of the land.
Three farms in Franklin Township totaling 155 acres will be preserved using the Planning Incentive Grant (PIG) program and both the county and the municipality will be completely reimbursed for their portion of the funding through a federal grant administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Services - Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program.
"It is very exciting to help preserve these farms and maintain the agricultural and rural nature of our county. By utilizing the resources available through the federal government and the state, the county and municipality save a combined $373,596 to purchase these farms and save them from development. That is a win for the farmers and the taxpayers," said Freeholder DiMarco, liaison to the Department of Parks and Land Preservation.
According to the New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee, Farms or development easements that are acquired through the Farmland Preservation Program will forever be protected for agricultural use. Landowners who have sold their development rights still can sell their land at any time. Deed restrictions prohibiting non-agricultural development run with the land, so future owners of preserved farms also would be required to comply with the deed restrictions.
The sale of development rights does not make farmland public property. The public has no right to access or use a deed-restricted farm without the landowner's consent.

Continue reading on 407 acres of Gloucester County Farmland to be preserved - Philadelphia Buzz |


Farm, forest in Warren County preserved under agricultural easement

A 60-acre farm in Warren County will be preserved forever, with agricultural activities allowed to continue, under a partnership between the county, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Franklin Township and the Land Conservancy of New Jersey.

The announcement of the $420,000 farmland easement purchase is the second announcement today of local New Jersey land preserved. Earlier, the D&R Greenway Land Trust announced 30 acres in Raritan Township will be preserved and used for public trails.

The Franklin Township land lies in the Musconetcong River Valley and is known as Apple Valley Farms, onAsbury-Bloomsbury Road, according to a news release from the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. Owned by William Leavens, the farm includes 45 acres planted in soybeans and other vegetable crops and 10 acres of woods with a stream running through it.

The conservation foundation contributed $191,000 from its federal Farm and Ranch Lands Preservation Program grant fund, which has been used to secure agricultural easements on thousands of acres of farmland throughout New Jersey.

"We're pleased to help preserve Apple Valley Farms," said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation, in the release."Preserving this farm will help maintain the rural and scenic character of the Musconetcong River Valley, and the easement will preserve the soils for future farming and food production."
Apple Valley Farms is bordered by preserved farmland to the north and the state's Musconetcong Wildlife Management Area to the south. Nearby are the Musconetcong River and several other parcels of preserved farmland and open space.

A private nonprofit, New Jersey Conservation Foundation has assisted Warren County in preserving several other farms in recent years.

In 2009 and 2010, the foundation used its Farm and Ranch Lands Preservation Program grant fund to help preserve four Warren County farms: the 139-acre Truszkowski farm in Franklin Township, the 108-acre Prant farm in Allamuchy Township, the 78-acre Demeter farm in White Township and the 56-acre Schuster farm in Greenwich Township.

Since 2005, New Jersey Conservation Foundation has been awarded more than $22 million in Farm and Ranch Lands Preservation Program funds by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than any other New Jersey nonprofit.


Thirty acres of open space preserved in Raritan Township

RARITAN TOWNSHIP — Through a partnership of funders, 30 acres of forest with a meandering stream in the township has been preserved as open space.
Raritan Township, D&R Greenway Land Trust and the New Jersey Water Supply Authority on Feb. 14 finalized the purchase of the 30-acre property along the Plum Brook to be protected permanently as open space with future plans for public trails.
The property is between Plum Brook Road and Old Hill Road, with temporary access through the Michele Cross cul-de-sac.
"Large undisturbed forests, which are increasingly rare in Hunterdon County, support a wide diversity of native plants and wildlife and protect the quality of our streams and rivers," said Amy Greene, chairwoman of the township Open Space Committee.
The Plum Brook and its tributary, the Wickecheoke Creek feed, into the D&R Canal, a drinking water source for Central Jersey residents.
The state Green Acres Program provided a grant for 40 percent of the acquisition price, the New Jersey Water Supply Authority funded 20 percent, D&R Greenway Land Trust utilized a grant from the Hunterdon County Open Space Fund to contribute 20 percent, and the balance was provided by the township's Open Space Fund.

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