Open Space Institute Announces Loans For Conservation In New Jersey

Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman
Open Space Institute Announces Loans For Conservation In New Jersey

NEW YORK, NY - October 6, 2005 - The New York based Open Space Institute (OSI) announced today two new loans to expand recreational opportunities and protect wildlife habitat in Monmouth and Atlantic counties in New Jersey. OSI makes loans to nonprofit conservation organizations through its Conservation Loan Program.

The Open Space Institute initiated the New Jersey Conservation Loan Fund as part of its Loan Program in January 2003 to provide short-term, low-interest, bridge loans to nonprofit organizations working to permanently protect New Jersey's remaining open space. The only conservation lending operation in New Jersey, OSI's Loan Fund has to date made nine loans totaling almost $5 million to protect 10,300 acres of land valued at more than $40 million throughout the State of New Jersey. Borrowers have included the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Morris Land Conservancy, and the D&R Greenway Land Trust, among others.

According to Peter Howell, OSI's vice president and director of conservation finance, the Fund recently made two loans to New Jersey conservation organizations totaling more than $900,000 to expand a wildlife refuge in Atlantic County and create a new county park in Monmouth County. “We are pleased to be able to have helped these all-volunteer organizations realize their vision of protecting important natural resources in New Jersey,” said Howell. “With development pressures accelerating, there is a closing window of opportunity to preserve the state's natural heritage.” For more information about the New Jersey Conservation Loan Fund, and how to apply for a loan, click here.

The Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF) used OSI's $250,000 loan to help protect a 40-acre parcel in rapidly growing Middletown Township. MCF collaborated with state, county and local public agencies to protect the Fisher-Stern property, which runs through the Locust section of Middletown Township and includes 800 feet of frontage along Claypit Creek. The $10.4 million project, a state and local priority for many years, is located near the 740-acre Hartshorne Woods and the 260-acre Huber Woods that together offer over 18 miles of trails. Once protected, the property will become a new county park.

The Unexpected Wildlife Refuge (UWR) recently received a $670,000 loan from OSI to purchase the 127-acre Codario farm in Atlantic County that will enlarge the organization's 610-acre refuge in the Pinelands National Reserve, a globally significant environmental resource. Through this acquisition, the Unexpected Wildlife Refuge helped to protect a critical wildlife resource by taking advantage of New Jersey's innovative conservation funding mechanism known as Pinelands Development Credits (PDC), a part of the New Jersey program that administers Transfer of Development Rights (Click here for more information about PDCs). The program was established to protect ecologically sensitive lands in the Pinelands while directing development into designated growth areas.

The refuge features important breeding habitat for many species of wildlife, including the Pine Barren tree frog and barred owl. UWR plans to repay the $670,000 loan from OSI through a combination of public acquisition funds and revenue from the sale of Pineland Development Credits associated with Codario Farm.

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Codario Farm
photo by Michael Hogan

Monmouth Conservation Foundation was organized in 1977 by a group of citizens of Monmouth County to acquire, hold, develop, preserve and protect the open lands, historic areas and park and recreational areas of Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge consists of upland forests and wetlands and includes over one mile of Main Lake Branch, a tributary of the Great Egg Harbor River. The Refuge was founded in 1961 by the Buyukmihci family to provide an inviolate sanctuary for indigenous plants and animals and is open to the public for passive recreation by appointment. For more information visit the website link above or call 856.697.3541.

Open Space Institute
protects scenic, natural and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment conserve habitats and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, special loan programs, and creative partnerships. OSI has protected more than 90,000 acres in New York State. Through its Northern Forest Protection Fund and Conservation Loan Program, OSI has assisted in the protection of 1.4 million acres in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and North Carolina.

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