The Maple Ridge Golf Course, located at the intersection of Woodbury-Glassboro Road and Bark Bridge Road, has been closed since December, 2006. (The property formerly was operated under the names Tall Pines and Eagle's Nest.) The 112-acre site, which is split between Deptford and Mantua Townships, is slated for construction of over 100 houses.
Due to changing economic conditions, there is now a possibility that this entire site could be preserved as a park. In 2010, a committee of local citizens called Friends of Maple Ridge was formed to explore financing and management solutions. Several members of the WEC are involved in this effort.
For more information:
Following the successful completion of our Synnott's Pond Project, the WEC is turning its attention toward Comey's Lake. Accumulated silt is filling in the northern end of the lake at an alarming rate. In addition, summertime blooms of duckweed create an unsightly green growth visible throughout the surface of the lake. The WEC is tackling both the funding and engineering challenges necessary to ensure that Comey's Lake remains a vibrant recreational resource for years to come.
For several years, nearly 200 vultures (Turkey and Black) have made Wenonah their winter home, returning each evening to form a communal roost (their previous winter roost was lost to development). The scientific name for Turkey Vultures, Cathartes aura ("golden purifier"), refers to their role of cleansing the environment. Yet these birds are little understood by the public. The first Vulture Fest, a joint project of the WEC and the Gloucester County Nature Club, was held in March, 2006 at the Wenonah Community Center. A larger festival was held at Wenonah Elementary School starting in 2007. The festival aims to be a fun, educational evening event which has a positive and enduring impact on the community. Profits from the event are being used to assist environmental education programs in local schools. There are only four other towns in the US that host vulture festivals.
Starting in 2009, the Festival expanded beyond its traditional evening hours. In the afternoon, free children's activities and guided vulture walks are offered at the Community Center. In the evening, a more formal program includes live vultures and birds of prey on the stage at the Elementary School. Be sure to visit the Vulture Festival's own website and sign up for the e-mail list.
The plant choices you make in your yard can have a direct impact on your
neighbors' yards as well as the Conservation Lands. As the WEC continues
to create the "Ring of Green"
around the borough, we want to make sure that the Conservation Lands are not
overrun with undesirable, non-native plants.
You can see pictures of some of these trespassers in the Invasive Species Gallery. We will be adding both pictures and textual information over time to help you understand "What" these species are, "Why" they need to be controlled, and "How" to control them.
With over six miles of trails and 40 bridges in the middle of the great outdoors, constant maintenance work is a given. Major construction is generally done during the cooler times of year. During the summer, we focus on trimming back vegetation.
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is a flowering marsh plant which originated in Europe and Asia. Introduced to America around 1800 as a garden and medicinal plant, it is now found in all contiguous U.S. states except Florida and in most Canadian provinces. In North America, it lacks any natural enemies, causing it to rapidly crowd out other plant life. Animals and insects can suffer from a reduction in their normal food sources and shelter locations.
Locally, purple loosestrife has been rapidly colonizing the Mantua Creek marsh south of the Mantua Avenue bridge. Each of these plants can generate up to 3 million seeds per year! Because these seeds are spread by both wind and water, there is every reason to believe the infestation, left unchecked, will grow much worse over time.
Mechanical removal of these plants is not practical due to their hardy roots. Herbicides are another option, but repeated and heavy applications are required, possibly endangering the surrounding ecosystem. The most promising control strategy is biological control: insects which feed on the roots, leaves, or flowers of the purple loosestrife.
In October, 2004, after consulting with a State insect specialist, the WEC voted to purchase 6000 Galerucella beetles for introduction into the marsh in the spring of 2005. These beetles feed exclusively on the leaves of the purple loosestrife plant. It is hoped that the beetles will multiply over a period of years, bringing the loosestrife population under control.
The beetles were released on top of several loosestrife stands in Mantua Creek on May 27th, 2005. You can see pictures of the release here. As of summer 2012, the amount of loosestrife in the marsh has been reduced by over 50%. A group of hungry beetles can do significant damage to a loosestrife plant.