Wenonah Environmental Commission

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Historical Overview: 1969 to 1999

(Continued from the 1870-1968 period.)

5. 1969 to 1999 Historical Documentation & Infrastructure Redevelopment:
1969 - The Gloucester County Utilities Authority (GCUA) under the direction of Jack Sheppard, (also Wenonah Mayor) started to build their major regional sewage collection and treatment system. Most of the town operated sewage systems (including Wenonah's) were antiquated, causing additional pollution in nearby streams that went to the Delaware River.

1970 - Any major industries along the Delaware River that had not complied with the strict regulations enacted in 1961, on discharge of hazardous waste, were heavily fined and controls were forced on them to stop pollution.

1971 - Natural woodlands Council Milton Webb and members acquired additional conservation lands from Dr. Robert Puff and William Campbell along the Monongehela Brook through the Stewart Estate Trust.

1972 - Milton Webb requested that Council consider establishing an Environmental Commission to replace the Woodlands Council. Chuck Forsman appointed Chairman of the Wenonah Surface Water Analysis Committee.

1973 - The Gloucester County Regional Sewage System was completed. (The first Regional Authority in NJ). This led the way for other counties to follow. That same year, the Wenonah Sewage Plant was closed and the Wenonah sewer system was connected to the Gloucester County Utilities Authority (GCUA) system. Many other pollutants were stopped from entering the Mantua Creek and the Delaware River.

1975 - The Wenonah Environmental Commission replaced the Woodlands council giving members more authority over conservation land management. The first members were Milton H. Webb, Jr., Chairman, Martin F. Stankard, Melva Dipper, Frank Eggert, John Hall, Will Middleton and Charles (Chuck) Forsman.

1976 - Most of the pollutants into Mantua Creek were eliminated. Milton Webb initiated the merger of paper streets into the conservation areas.

1979 - Chuck Forsman and Phil Winkie, Wenonah Environmental Commission members, continued a water analysis study of all rivers, streams , lakes and ponds within and around Wenonah. Signs of many life forms returned to Mantua Creek and oxygen levels rose dramatically. A new spillway was completed at Comey's lake and the dam at Synnott's Pond was rebuilt to state specifications.

1985 - Many game fish like Bass, Pike, Sunfish and Perch returned.

1986 - Many game birds were sighted, such as Canada Geese, a variety of Ducks, Quail, Pheasant and Wild Turkeys, in addition to a wide variety of other birds all feeding along the improved water quality of creeks and streams.

1989 - Almost all the original species of fish had returned to Mantua Creek. Shad and some Stripers spawned in Mantua Creek in 1991.  Over 84 additional acres of prime forests/conservation lands were acquired by George Eldridge and Milton Webb from 1939 to 1989 through private donations, Borough conversion to conservation or through the Stewart Estate Trust.

1993 - Even the most delicate life forms had revealed themselves in Mantua Creek, such as Grass Shrimp, abundant Crayfish, fresh water Clams and Blue Claw Crabs. 

1994 - Wild animals such as Deer, Fox, Raccoons, Opossum, Rabbits, Chipmunk, Muskrat, Squirrels, Turtles and Snakes thrived within the conservation area.

1995 - Bill Schramm, became Chairman of the Wenonah Environmental Commission. Chuck Forsman began a new series of Conservation Land Acquisitions. 2.09 acres of land, with the Tea House, Amphitheatre and nearby waterfalls at Comey's Lake, was acquired from Mr. & Mrs. Kitz on 9/2/95. Bill Shourds, Dan & Bob Bevilacqua completely rebuilt the original 1885 leveling dam at Comey's Lake. Delor Cornell funded a dock area over the dam. 

1997 - Much work was done by Wenonah's Conservationist Frank Eggert and many volunteers to upgrade and improve the Wenonah Trails, including reconstruction of bridges and the planting of 126 Evergreen Trees.  0.52 acres of land adjacent to Monongahela Stream was acquired from Mrs. Myers on 8/8/97.

1998 - The species of game in Wenonah had actually increased to include all of those species reported in 1870 plus a Coyote. 

1999 - Newly appointed Commission Members Brian & Paula Hayes developed school & public programs with their wildlife and plant species knowledge.

(Continue to the 2000-present period.)

Acknowledgements: Some data derived from the archives of Milton H. Webb and Mayor Jack Sheppard, Sr. by C.R.Forsman