Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Adamucci Farm Is First OSI Bayshore-Highlands Project In The Cohansey Watershed

Adamucci Farm, NJ

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ — A 48-acre farm along the Cohansey River in Hopewell Township has been permanently preserved through a partnership between Cumberland County, the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the state’s Farmland Preservation Program and the Open Space Institute.

The farm, owned by Carmen Adamucci, is located at the intersection of Sanitarium and Aitkin roads in the Dutch Neck section of the township. Vegetable crops are grown in the fields, which are separated from the river’s marshlands by a hedgerow.

Development rights to the farm were purchased using funding from Cumberland County, the State Agriculture Development Committee and a grant to New Jersey Conservation Foundation from OSI’s Bayshore-Highlands Fund. Although the land will continue to be owned by Mr. Adamucci, it will be permanently restricted for agricultural use.

“This farm was a high priority for preservation because of its prime soils and close proximity to the river,” said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “The preservation effort was made even more urgent because it was once proposed for a housing development.”

The Cohansey corridor is critical for wildlife habitat, especially waterfowl, marine life and birds such as bald eagles. Preservation of the Adamucci farm will help protect water quality in the river and surrounding marshes, and the region’s remaining forests.

The Cohansey River is one of the high-priority areas on the Delaware Bayshore which OSI has targeted for preservation. In partnership with the New Jersey Landscape Project, which identifies critical wildlife habitat for threatened and endangered species, the NJ Farmland Preservation Program and the William Penn Foundation, OSI has identified about 17,000 acres of wildlife habitat and farmland in the Cohansey River watershed as conservation priorities for the Bayshore-Highlands Fund.

Cumberland County Freeholder Tom Sheppard said the county is glad to have more farmland preserved so it can continue to be the production center of the Garden State. “Without the critical mass of good land that has not been developed, we would be unable to hold the businesses that depend on commercial growers to survive,” Sheppard said. “From the stores that sell supplies to the farms and their workers, to the banks that handle the money, all of Cumberland County benefits.”

The Adamucci Farm is the first of many projects that OSI hopes to help complete in the Cohansey watershed. Another project, the preservation of the 405-acre Sheppard’s Mill Girl Scout Camp led by the Natural Lands Trust in partnership with the NJDP Green Acres Program, has also received approval for Bayshore-Highlands funding and is scheduled for closing later this year.

“The Open Space Institute is very pleased to have been a part of the successful completion of the Adamucci Farm preservation through a grant from its Bayshore-Highlands Fund,” said Peter Howell, OSI’s executive vice president. “This farm will add to the corridor of exceptionally rich and productive farmland in Hopewell Township along the north shore of the Cohansey River. The permanent protection of the Adamucci Farm will also add to the rich mosaic of farmland and forests, marshland and wetlands in the area which serve as  prime habitat for species such as the bald eagle, endangered shorebirds other diverse and rare wildlife.”

“We are seeing a strong and growing commitment to the protection of farmland and open space in the Cohansey watershed,” added Bill Rawlyk, OSI’s Mid-Atlantic field coordinator. “Cumberland County has strongly supported farmland preservation along the river and recently approved supporting open space acquisitions with county funds, opening the door to new conservation partnerships and opportunities. Also for the first time, Hopewell Township and the city of Bridgeton have made applications to the NJDEP Green Program for land acquisition funds.”

The Cohansey is one of the largest of New Jersey’s tributaries to the Delaware Bay. With the exception of a section passing through the city of Bridgeton, the Cohansey watershed retains both unspoiled natural areas and a concentration of very productive farmland. Much of the river is a tidal estuary supporting intact salt marshes. The uplands along the river support forests, grasslands and freshwater wetlands serving as habitat for a large concentration of species such as the bald eagle, osprey, red-shouldered hawk, American kestrel, diamondback terrapin, waterfowl, migratory songbirds, and anadromous fish such as blueback herring and striped bass.






 

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