Jamesburg Natural Area Wetland Enhancement Project
The restoration at Jamesburg Park is one of a series of projects that make up the Middlesex County Wetland Restoration (MCWR) project, a joint effort by Middlesex County, Green Trust Alliance (GTA), GreenVest (GV) and Princeton Hydro (PH) to meet two important objectives: 1. to fulfill state and local goals for restoration, open space use/management and greenway connections by improving ecosystem services provided by open spaces within Middlesex County, and 2. to provide compensatory mitigation for permanent freshwater wetland impacts within the Raritan Basin watershed, located within the Reading Prong/Northern Piedmont Lowland Eco‐region, as well as the Arthur Kill Basin watershed, located within the NJ/NY Piedmont Eco‐region. These projects use funds from the New Jersey Wetlands Mitigation Council’s In Lieu Fee (ILF) program.
The Jamesburg Park Conservation Area (JPCA) is a 1,414-acre recreational and open space area located within the South River watershed and the Inner Coastal Plain Eco-region. It consists of extremely valuable headwater wetlands within a highly developed area of the state. There are particular areas within the JPCA which are highly disturbed, and these will be the focus of the enhancement efforts that make up the JPCA Wetland Enhancement Project. The proposed project area is 15.46 acres and is comprised of a common reed (Phragmites australis) dominated community that is interspersed with native species including Atlantic White Cedar saplings. Under current conditions, these wetlands have low resource value for wildlife due to the predominance of invasive plant species.
The project will re-establish an Atlantic White Cedar dominated wetland community within the project area. The wetlands will be enhanced by treating the invasive species, the installation of herbivory control measures where needed, and the planting of native wetland species. These enhancement measures will start the project area along a trajectory towards the establishment of healthy Atlantic Cedar stand and a diverse, functional freshwater wetland habitat. The primary goal of the project is to convert low-quality wetlands into a highly functional headwater wetland system that is integrated into the rest of the JPCA landscape, creating a system of native palustrine forest and emergent wetlands. This integrated landscape will provide high quality habitat for common wildlife as well as endangered species including osprey, pied-billed grebes, and bald eagles. The restored headwater wetland system will provide enhanced groundwater storage onsite, and lead to the improvement of onsite and downstream water quality. This project began construction in August 2018.