Dragonflies, brook trout, globally rare songbirds and the millions of people who rely on the Delaware River Basin for drinking water will all benefit from an expansion of the Minisink Valley Preserve in northern New Jersey.
The preserve provides an important wildlife corridor connecting the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area with High Point State Park and other protected lands, and includes forested areas as well as wetlands along Clove Brook, which feeds the Delaware River via the Neversink River.
“The upper Delaware Basin is a globally important resource, providing habitat for thousands of migrating birds as well as fish, mussels, rare plants and the millions of people who count on this river system for clean, safe drinking water,” said Robert Allen, Director of Conservation Programs for The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey.
The Nature Conservancy recently purchased just over 108 acres of forest and wetlands in Sussex County, near the New York and Pennsylvania borders, from Mountain Properties LLC. Under Nature Conservancy ownership, a small sand and gravel mine on the property will be closed and restored to forestland. Forested watersheds in the Delaware Basin help to protect drinking water sources for residents of New York City and Philadelphia, as well as many New Jersey communities.
The property is located on the Western side of Kittatinny Ridge, a globally important area for migratory birds of prey. Golden eagles, kestrels and hawks are often seen along the ridge. Recently, peregrine falcons have also begun nesting on federal property in the area, fledging chicks successfully on Kittatinny Ridge for the first time in a half-century.
The ridge is also critical for migrating songbirds, including the cerulean warbler — one of the fastest-declining songbirds worldwide, which is known to breed in the Minisink area. The golden-winged warbler, Acadian flycatcher, Louisiana water thrush and Eastern wood-peewee also breed in the region, making it a popular destination for birders.
The $900,000 purchase expands the preserve’s total acreage to 183. The project was funded by a mix of private and foundation donations and a matching grant from the State’s Green Acres Program. The Nature Conservancy purchased the first 75 acres of the Minisink Preserve in 2007, and will continue working in the region in the coming years.
Along with the nearby Mashipacong Bog Preserve, Nocella Nature Preserve and Little Flatbrook Preserve, the enlarged Minisink Valley Preserve joins a mosaic of conservation lands on both sides of the Delaware River.
Since 1955, the Nature Conservancy has protected more than 50,000 acres in the Garden State, much of which was preserved with partial funding from the Green Acres Program.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey
(610) 834-1323, x103