Friday, July 29, 2011

Victory at Primrose Farm Estate!

Harding Township Committee Votes In Favor Of Open Space

Thanks to the dedication a few local citizens, Harding Land Trust will now be the proud owner of 45 acres of prime open space.  About 100 residents turned out Wednesday evening, July 13, for a Township Committee meeting where committee members determined the fate of environmentally sensitive land at Harding’s Primrose Farm Estate.  Thanks to the concerted efforts of groups like the Great Swamp Watershed Association, Harding Land Trust and The Trust for Public Land, most of those in attendance spoke out in favor of sparing the Estate from the developers’ bulldozers.

Although Committee members voted unanimously to keep 45 acres of Primrose Farm undeveloped and open for public recreation, final decision-making on the issue appeared to be close.  Weeks of uncertainty and speculation about the Township’s ultimate intentions for the property lead a number of stakeholders to rally supporters on behalf of the open space plan.  Harding Land Trust generated a petition in support of the project that garnered the names of more than 180 local residents.  GSWA distributed information outlining the property’s intrinsic value as a location for undisturbed wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation and encouraged attendance at the meeting to show support for the preservation.

Our profound thanks go out to all those who stood up for open space and the environment on July 13.  Without your unwavering commitment to the Primrose plan, 13 new ”McMansions” would be ready for construction and the single largest and most-naturally-diverse piece of outdoor space left inside Harding Township would be no more.  What a fantastic victory for those who would protect Great Swamp from the hazards of overdevelopment!

Unfortunately, the fight is not over.  The 45 acres of land Harding Township has agreed to keep undeveloped covers less than half of the entire 122-acre Primrose Farm Estate.  Another 77 acres still needs protection and still needs our help.  Protection for that acreage has yet to be ratified under Phase II of the Primrose Open Space Plan, and completion of that plan remains contingent on receipt of additional open space funding from Morris County and Harding Township.  GSWA will be participating in this phase of the preservation through a Green Acres application for $200,000.   We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed as work on Primrose Phase II progresses.



Sally S. Rubin
Executive Director
Great Swamp Watershed Association



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Help Your Neighbors AND Have Some Lakeside Fun On August 20!


Hey Great Swamp Enthusiasts!

Our friends and neighbors at the Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) need our help on Saturday, August 20.

100 volunteers are needed to help MWA and others hand-pull non-native, invasive water chestnut (Trapa natans) plants from Lake Musconetcong.

Lake Musconetcong is home to the largest infestation of Water Chestnuts in the state of New Jersey.  These highly invasive, nonnative aquatic plants were introduced into U.S. waters in the late 1800s. Since then they've been crowding out native water plants and choking the life out of waterways throughout the northeastern U.S.  Check out this map of the water chestnut invasion created by the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States.

Here are a few more facts about invasive water chestnuts and Lake Musconetcong:

Here are some event details:

What: Water Chsestnut Removal at Lake Musconetcong

When: Saturday, August 20, 2011; Starting at 9AM

Where: Parking lot next to Arbolino Park (Center Street in Netcong)

  • Row boats, canoes and possibly kayaks will be provided to those who want them.
  • Volunteers are needed for pulling out plants, running event registration, cooking, parking and post-event clean-up. (There's lots to do!)
  • Download the event flyer here.

More information is available at by contacting Chris Trainor and MWA at 908-537-7060, or by emailing Chris at

MusconetcongWaterChestnutPullFlyer.pdf Download this file

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What Do You Think About Local Deer Overpopulation?

Public Hearings On Deer Control At Jockey Hollow

The National Park Service (NPS) seeks comments from the public as it develops a new plan for controlling the exploding deer population at Morristown National Historical Park (NHP – Jockey Hollow).

According to a recent press release, the Vegetation and White-tailed Deer Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (plan/EIS) will be designed with the goal of promoting the natural regeneration of hardwood forest that reflect the natural and historic diversity of the park.

NPS will hold two public hearings about the White-tailed Deer EIS that we encourage you to attend:

White-tailed Deer EIS Public Comment Hearing #1
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

White-tailed Deer EIS Public Comment Hearing #2
Thursday, July 28, 2011
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Both hearings will take place at Morristown NHP, Washington’s Headquarters Museum, 30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ  07960.

Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) wants to remind you that local deer populations run as high as 70 to 100 deer per square mile. That’s 7 to 10 times the number of deer most of the land in our region is equipped to support.  Left unchecked our deer could strip away certain native plants and subsequently crowd out other wildlife sharing the same food and habitat.  Such a loss of biodiversity has profoundly negative implications for local soil and water quality.  Soil erosion increases and the composition of nutrients and minerals entering the water supply change dramatically.

Controlling deer overpopulation is possible.  GSWA’s Conservation Management Area (CMA) in Harding Township provides examples of successful deer-control techniques, including the construction of an effective deer exclosure fence that prevents herds from doing major damage. After installing the fence, GSWA scientists and volunteers noticed a marked increase in native plant growth at the CMA.  This has brought us one step closer to providing New Jersey with another 53 acres of biodiverse open space to serves as healthy habitat for migratory birds, endangered amphibians and important insects.

Written comments on NPS’s proposed White-tailed Deer EIS may be submitted through August 14 via the Internet at or by mailing them to Mr. Robert Masson, Biologist Morristown National Historical Park, 30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ 07960.

We hope you choose to make your voice heard on this important community issue.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nature Walk in the Great Swamp Watershed, Friday, July 22


Don't forget! GSWA Education & Outreach Director Hazel England will be guiding a tour of GSWA's 53-acre Conservation Management Area in Harding, NJ this Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) owns 53 acres of land in Harding Township that is maintained as a Conservation Management Area. This forested wetland contains vernal pools, streams, and woods with wildflowers and wildlife aplenty.

 We will take an early evening stroll along the boardwalk trails, listening for birds and searching for native plants. This is an easy-paced hike at an important restoration area. Children are welcome.

Location: GSWA Conservation Management Area, 1 Tiger Lilly Lane, Harding, NJ. Please register to attend at or visit

Cost: Free for GSWA members, $10 for non-members, $5 for non-member children under 5, $30 for non-member families.



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

News from @GSWA for July 2011

Check out what's up in The Great Swamp! Read @GSWA's e-Newsletter for July at

Sign up to receive our monthly e-Newsletter and other communications from the Great Swamp Watershed Association via email. Just complete the sign-up form on our home page located at