Wetlands protection in the New Jersey Pinelands
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Wetland vegetation types of the New Jersey Pinelands include cedar and hardwood swamps, pitch pine lowlands, inland and coastal marshes, and bogs. These wetlands comprise 30–35% of the 470,000 ha Pinelands region. In response to both federal and state legislative mandates, a Comprehensive Management Plan was developed by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission to preserve and protect the unique and essential character of the Pinelands ecosystem. Under the Plan, wetlands are protected by a regional land allocation program, a land acquisition program, and a wetlands management program. The wetlands management program prohibits most development within wetland boundaries and requires the preservation of an upland buffer to the wetland. In this paper, the Comprehensive Management Plan’s land allocation program is reviewed as it relates to wetlands protection, and the wetlands management program is described. The accomplishments of these wetlands protection initiatives since the implementation of the Plan are assessed. It is suggested that a comprehensive wetlands protection program such as the one applied in the Pinelands can be effectively implemented elsewhere on a regional scale.
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