VINELAND, NJ (July 16, 2023) – The Open Space Institute, the American Littoral Society, and New Jersey (NJ) Conservation Foundation today announced a significant expansion to Menantico Creek Preserve in southern New Jersey. Protection of the property will expand recreational access for Cumberland County while safeguarding important drinking water resources for the greater Delaware River Watershed.
With support from OSI’s Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund, the American Littoral Society protected the 85-acre property before transferring it to New Jersey Conservation Foundation as an addition to Menantico Creek Preserve. The property’s dense forests and undisturbed soil will filter out pollutants, helping to recharge clean water within the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer — South Jersey’s main source of clean drinking water — and in turn the Delaware River Watershed.
The property represents the second expansion of NJ Conservation Foundation’s Menantico Creek Preserve supported through OSI’s Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund, which protects water quality in the Delaware River Basin. Launched in 2014, OSI’s Fund has protected more than 21,000 acres of forested land to filter waters leading to the Delaware River Watershed, a source of drinking water for approximately 15 million people — including residents of Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and New York City.
“The Open Space Institute is extremely proud of our role in supporting the expansion of the Menantico Creek Preserve, whose floodplain forest and wetlands are instrumental in safeguarding sources of clean drinking water within the Delaware River Watershed,” said Bill Rawlyk, OSI’s Mid-Atlantic Field Coordinator. “We applaud New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the American Littoral Society, and their partners for their tireless efforts to see this land protected, forever.”
The Menantico Creek Preserve features 2.2 miles of the Menantico Creek and its tributaries – part of the federally-designated Maurice Wild and Scenic River system. The Menantico Creek is one of the main tributaries of the Maurice River, which flows into the Delaware Bay.
The newly-acquired property — located immediately to the south of the original Preserve — has high conservation value, as it has never been clear cut for farming. Its old growth forest provides habitat for bald eagles, barred owls, and red-headed woodpeckers.
In addition to OSI, the New Jersey Green Acres Program and Cumberland County also supported acquisition of the property.
OSI’s Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund is made possible with funding from the William Penn Foundation’s Delaware River Watershed Initiative.