MILLVILLE, N.J. — After over 30 years of advocacy, Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River & Its Tributaries has finally seen one of their biggest goals completed: the 1,400-acre Cumberland County farm known as “Holly Farm” will officially be preserved by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Considered the site of New Jersey’s highest concentration of endangered species, the land is being purchased by the NJDEP from Atlantic City Electric.
“Our commitment to serving our customers and communities goes beyond providing the safe and reliable energy service they count on,” said Dave Velazquez, president and CEO of Pepco Holdings, which includes Atlantic City Electric, in a press release. “We recognize that we need to lead the fight against climate change and help preserve the environment where we live and work. We believe the sale of the Holly Farm property to the DEP best fulfills our responsibilities to our customers and communities, as it supports the continued well-being of the region’s natural environment and ensures the continued benefits of this open space for generations to come.”
According to a press release issued by Gov. Murphy’s office, the property is situated between Menantico Creek and Manumuskin Creek, two federally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers. The acquisition of the property will also directly connect to two Nature Conservancy preserves that will be donated to the DEP. In total, these additions will expand the preserved Menantico Ponds Wildlife Management Area by more than 5,500 acres. Financial terms of the agreement will be made public once the purchase is completely finalized.
“Safeguarding New Jersey’s interconnected open spaces and diverse ecosystem is critically important in protecting our environment,” said Gov. Murphy in the release. “In addition to protecting endangered species, our open spaces have the capacity to store large amounts of carbon emissions and absorb water to reduce flooding in our communities. Through the acquisition of Holly Farm, we are able to preserve New Jersey’s natural resources and become more resilient to the devastating effects of climate change.”
Jane Morton Galetto, board president of CU Maurice River, expressed sincere appreciation over the deal.
“We salute the Governor, The DEP, Assistant DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe, and Green Acres, especially Bureau Chief Fawn McGee of NJ Green Acres Program. In particular we would like offer our sincere gratitude and salute Pepco Holdings/Atlantic City Electric Company for their courage and foresight. We share their goal of combating climate change and providing our communities with open space and recreational opportunities. It is a pleasure to share a similar vision in our desire to protect this global marvel.”