EDISON—Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes III joined Senator Barbara Buono and Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan last week to announce that the bill which establishes the Dismal Swamp Preservation Commission was signed into law.
“This commission will ensure that the Dismal Swamp, a jewel of Middlesex County, is preserved for generations to come. We have something very special here that needs to be protected,” said Barnes (D-Edison), the prime sponsor of the legislation.
The Dismal Swamp stretches through over 1,200 acres of hardwood forests, EPA-designated Priority Wetlands, and wild meadows in South Plainfield, Metuchen and Edison and is home to countless different wildlife species and many archaeological artifacts. The nine-member commission will create a regional Master Plan to prevent further encroachment upon the Dismal Swamp and will have regulatory authority over the swamp.
“We have lost too many pristine areas of New Jersey already; the Dismal Swamp Preservation Commission will preserve one of the last and largest natural oases in the area,” added Buono (D-Metuchen).
The Dismal Swamp Preservation Commission will include members appointed by Edison, Metuchen, South Plainfield, Middlesex County and the nonprofit Edison Wetlands Association (EWA), which has worked for the past 20 years to protect “The Diz.” As the owner of the Triple C Ranch and nature center-which serves as the public gateway to The Diz-EWA released the first-ever Dismal Swamp Natural Resource Inventory, which call be viewed at http://www.princetonhydro.com/edisonwetlands/.
“Having a regional planning board for the Dismal Swamp simply makes sense, we can no longer afford to have each municipality have a different vision for this unspoiled terrain,” said Diegnan (D-South Plainfeld).
“The Dismal Swamp is the only natural area left in northern Middlesex County, and we applaud Assemblymen Barnes and Diegnan and Senator Buono for tirelessly working to preserve and restore this oasis in densely populated Central New Jersey,” said EWA executive director Robert Spiegel,
“Our shared vision includes preserving at-risk natural habitat, expanding environmental education, and increasing public access through the extension of the Middlesex Greenway hiking and biking trail.”
“The Dismal Swamp’s habitat is vitally important to a number of species of birds and other wildlife, including threatened and endangered species and species of special concern,” said Kelly Mooij, director of Government Relations for the New Jersey Audubon Society.
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