Thompson Park Wetland Restoration Project
The restoration at Thompson Park is one of a series of projects that make up the Middlesex County Wetland Restoration (MCWR) project, a joint effort by Middlesex County, GreenTrust 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 program.
The restoration site is a 26.24-acre section of the Thompson Park Conservation Area (TPCA) that is comprised entirely of agriculturally modified headwater wetlands and uplands. It is a part of the Raritan River Basin watershed and will greatly contribute to the ability of the headwater wetland to provide valuable ecological services within the Cranbury Brook and Millstone River watersheds. The primary goal of the project was to restore, create, and enhance 16.19 acres of freshwater wetlands and 10.05 acres of upland habitat. Additional restoration goals included restoring and enhancing freshwater hydrology within proposed and existing wetlands; creating functioning emergent scrub-shrub and forested wetlands; enhancing upland habitats adjacent to wetlands by restoring native grasslands and scrub-shrub communities; and removing invasive exotic plant species, re-establishing native wetland and upland plant communities. These measures eliminated the fragmentation of forested wetlands and uplands caused by agricultural activity on-site, restoring the forest and grassland ecosystems on the project site and reconnecting it with the surrounded forested wetlands/uplands within the greater TPCA. This project was completed in April 2016.