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 110-acre site, which is split between Deptford and Mantua Townships, was purchased by the State of New Jersey in November, 2015 and will become a nature preserve. Since 2010, a committee of local citizens called Friends of Maple Ridge has been working to bring this nature preserve into existence. Several members of the WEC are involved in this effort.
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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.
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.