Within the Nineties, the Salem Producing Station, owned by PSEG and working alongside the Delaware Bay, had an issue. They have been required to construct a cooling tower to handle the losses of egg and larval fish populations which had been happening for many years because the plant was commissioned in 1977. Moderately than construct the tower, a daring new plan for mitigation was applied. In 1994, the PSEG Estuary Enhancement Program (EEP) was born.
Estuaries Are Important
The EEP is presently acknowledged as the most important privately funded program of its variety within the U.S., and maybe even the world. Presently, greater than 20,000 acres of salt marshes and adjoining upland forests are both being preserved or restored. The goals of the EEP are laser-focused on selling the well being of the fisheries and salt marsh ecosystems that lie so near the nuclear energy plant.
The EEP has additionally been a present to the folks of New Jersey. Along with serving to protect the habitat and breeding grounds of a lot of our native wildlife, mountaineering trails and commentary decks have been constructed into a few of these wildlife administration areas to encourage the general public to take pleasure in the great thing about our estuaries and the abundance of life they’re residence to. Estuaries are the place the river meets the ocean. It’s well-known that 80 p.c of all fish and shellfish use these very important grounds as their nurseries and breeding grounds.
Observe the Cash to Cash Island
As lovers of the good outdoor, trails like these have been made for exploring! Our first cease was Cash Island, also referred to as Alloway Creek Wetland Restoration Website. Cash Island is among the smallest and most distant places in rural Cumberland Co. This protect sits on the world the Native Individuals known as “Wootsessunging.” In 1664, the Governor of “New Sweden” established Fort Elisborg not removed from right here. There are rumors that pirates hid treasure alongside the forgotten NJ coast on their means residence from the Caribbean with their plunder. All this wealthy historical past belongs to this distant stretch of shoreline.
Crawling With Crabs
There’s a 1.7-mile loop across the protect. Every go to we have now been struck by the sounds of songbirds and the sight of wildflowers. Redwing blackbirds fill the salt hay fields with their cries and each infrequently, one dances on the fragile blades within the wind. Wild iris and celadon bloom alongside the crushed shell path. This brief path has a pleasant fowl blind and an commentary tower included alongside the loop. On one go to we have been lucky sufficient to witness a whole lot of fiddler crabs scrambling by means of the mud at low tide looking for their mid-day lunch.
There’s a second very brief path right here, simply 2/10 of a mile that results in a second commentary tower. Ospreys appear to like the large towers from the nuclear plant. We’ve got usually noticed them nesting in these towers with their sweeping views of Delaware Bay.
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay
The Bayside Tract is south of Alloway Creek and far smaller. This 4,400-acre parcel is basically for the fisherman. There’s a small parking space and you’ll put your rod within the water and quietly fish for hours undisturbed right here.
Strawberry Fields Without end
Heading additional south down the shoreline on the Delaware bayside is Industrial Township Wetlands Restoration Website, also referred to as Strawberry Avenue. This tract is considered one of my favorites. It provides three commentary towers and over two miles of trails, from Port Norris to Bivalve. There’s even a car-top boat launch situated at this web site.
It’s For the Birds
Port Norris, New Jersey is called “the Oyster Capital of the World.” So, it’s not stunning that this space is teeming with wildlife in all 4 seasons. Bald eagles, osprey, and peregrine falcons are common guests to the world. Purple-tailed hawks, rough-legged hawks and northern harriers have additionally been identified to fish in our waters. It’s additionally an incredible place for migrators to cease and replenish. We at all times love recognizing egrets right here too. The day we went this spring, the dunlin was taking full benefit of the small bugs at low tide. American avocet, black-necked stilt and dabbling geese all cease by to fill up on energy for the good migration annually.
There’s a cannery at one finish of the path, so it’s commonplace to see plenty of seagulls right here. On considered one of our journeys, we discovered that the commentary deck had been reworked right into a scene from Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and we did maintain our breath a little bit as we hiked previous this gathering of the gulls.
Highway to Nowhere
Thompson’s Seaside in Heislerville Wildlife Administration Space actually does really feel just like the land earlier than time. This seaside strip was residence to a thriving shore neighborhood. Over 100 buildings occupied this stretch of seaside earlier than a hurricane within the Fifties wiped every little thing off the map. The final seven to 14 houses went below eminent area in 1998 and PSEG’s EEP took possession.
Watch the Tides
There’s an commentary deck within the parking space. The trail to the seaside is about three-quarters of a mile by means of towering salt hay marshes. I’m informed one wants to observe the tides; this street can wash out at excessive tide and make a return journey to the automobile tough. On our hike, we have been fortunate sufficient to identify three diamondback terrapins lounging within the heat spring solar.
The place Eagles Dare
There are the stays of an outdated stone fire and the shell of a dock to the left of the path simply over a hill. We couldn’t consider it once we noticed a bald eagle regally perched in a tree there surveying his area. We additionally noticed plenty of horseshoe crab shells littering the seaside. Thompson’s Seaside has turn out to be an vital breeding floor for these ocean dwellers. It appears the creatures of the land and sky have reclaimed this as soon as widespread seaside as their major habitat – and it solely appears honest.
Take a Stroll on the Wild Aspect
Dwelling in New Jersey is sophisticated. We’ve got the Linden Cogeneration Plant on the Turnpike welcoming guests from the North to our state; and within the South, we have now Salem Nuclear Plant, warming our coastal waters maybe an excessive amount of. It’s laborious being an industrialized state – sustaining the fragile steadiness of nature is like strolling a tightrope. Nevertheless, after visiting the estuaries of South Jersey quite a few instances, I’ve to say this program appears to be profitable. The abundance of ospreys alone on any given day is an indicator of a wholesome ecosystem.
When you stay in New Jersey, you most likely have a love affair with the shore to a point. My shore love just isn’t the sandy seashores and rolling tides of the Atlantic Ocean. My beloved coast is lined with rippling salt hay and the dank odor of salty air assembly marsh gasses – the place the river meets the ocean.