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Cape May County, NJ

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APPROPRIATION / PHASE: Continuing Authorities / Design and Implementation

BUSINESS PROGRAM: Ecosystem Restoration

AUTHORITY: This project is authorized by Section 1135 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, as amended.

DESCRIPTION: The purpose of the Pond Creek Salt Marsh Restoration Project is to restore approximately 270 acres of estuarine intertidal emergent wetland habitat for fish and wildlife resources.  This will be accomplished by reintroducing tidal flushing in the lower marsh areas of Pond Creek to eliminate and control common reed (Phragmites australis), an exotic and invasive species which has formed an extensive, dense stand throughout most of Pond Creek marsh.  Once established, Phragmites often out competes native salt marsh vegetation, creating habitat less suitable for wildlife.  Control of common reed will allow the reestablishment of native salt marsh vegetation [e.g., smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), salt hay grass (S. patens), and spike grass (Distichlis spicata)], thus increasing habitat available for a variety of fish and wildlife resources, in particular, the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin), egrets, herons, shorebirds, and waterfowl. 

The Pond Creek marsh (totaling 417 acres) is located along the Delaware Bay and runs north of Sunset Boulevard in Lower Township and in the Borough of West Cape May, Cape May County, New Jersey.  The marsh, once a free-flowing estuarine tidal marsh before human disturbance, is part of the State of New Jersey’s Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area.

PROJECT GOALS: The purpose of this project is to restore Pond Creek to an estuarine intertidal emergent marsh, dominated by native species such as smooth cord grass (Spartina alterniflora). 

SPONSOR: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife.