Monday, November 9th, 2009

The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders has approved spending $14,140,298 from the county’s Preservation Trust Fund to help preserve 1,049 acres of open space in 12towns.

The freeholders approved funding the 17 projects nOV. 9 based upon the recommendations of the county’s Open Space Committee.

Among the projects being funded is a joint effort by Mount Olive and The Land Conservancy of New Jersey. They received $2.6 million to preserve approximately 536.5 acres of woodlands and fields between River Road and Shop Lane and extending further northeast to both sides of Flanders-Drakestown Road in the township.

The Trust for Public Land was awarded $1.95 million for 56.5 acres south of Split Rock Road and east of Lyonsville Road in Rockaway Township. This wooded property provides critical habitat for wildlife and also contains the headwaters of the Stony Brook.

The New Jersey Conservation Foundation was awarded more than $1.8 million to preserve 228.1 acres south of Drakestown Road in Washington Township, to further protect the water quality of the South Branch Raritan River.

Preservation projects in Denville, Florham Park, Hanover, Madison, Mendham Township, Montville, Pequannock, Randolph and Roxbury were also approved. A complete list of the 2009 approved projects will soon be found on the Morris County Preservation Trust website,

A tax of 3 cents per $100 of assessed property value is used to fund the program,and any of the 39 municipalities in the county and qualified charitable conservancies are eligible to apply for project funding.

Since the Open Space program began awarding grants in 1994, over 22,400 acres of open space in Morris County have been funded for preservation. Morris County voters approved the program in November 1992.