Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Palmyra Cove Nature Park (PCNP) is 250 acres of green in a highly developed area on the Delaware River just south of the Tacony Palmyra Bridge. With its woodlands, wetlands, tidal cove and wild river shore line, PCNP serves as an important feeding site for migratory birds.

Now, parts of the park soon will become a dump site for Delaware River-bottom dredge spoils. Oh boy!

Today the Army Corps of Engineers has plans to clear a path, 12 feet wide, for a pipe that will pump silt, clay and mud from the river into the park. The corps uses Pennsylvania dump sites for dredging projects on the north end of the Philadelphia-to-Trenton shipping channel. New Jersey has to take spoils from the southern end according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Corps plans to clear-cutt trees and fill as much as 70 acres of healthy wildlife habitat, including two functioning tidal wetlands, with the river dredge spoils.

The New Jersey Audubon Society says:

Dumping dredge spoils on this site would destroy Palmyra Cove's three non-tidal wetlands and mature upland forest habitats that harbor 216 bird species. The site provides essential habitat for hundreds of migratory bird species throughout spring and fall migration and for many imperiled species including the state-endangered Pied-billed Grebes.

More than 100 people crowded into the headquarters of the Burlington County Bridge Commission yesterday for a hearing of sorts on the issue. “Take a step back, do the environmental review, do a true public review and listen to the all of the good ideas in this room and all the good ideas in the agencies,” one frustrated resident said.

After 60 minutes federal and state spokespeople decided they had answered enough questions and took off. The crowd was less then happy. They, in fact, staged a near sit-in.

The group
Delaware Riverkeepers warns:

The Corp's plan to destroy these 22 acres is only the start. There are 50
adjacent acres that will too soon be filled unless the public outcry is so loud
that our elected take a stronger stand and demand that their inquiries for
alternative sites and a public hearing is acted upon by the Corp and NJDEP. How
many species, including some endangered and threatened, have to use/nest in a
natural area before it becomes more valuable to New Jersey than a dredge
retention basin?

The following is from the South Jersey Courier Post.

Protestors, Army Corps gather in Palmyra

PALMYRA - Today, the Army Corps of Engineers began work preparing a site for dredge spoils in the Palmyra Cove Nature Park.

The workers were met by a group of about a dozen protesters, who did not make a serious effort to block the Army Corps' efforts.

The Army Corps plans to scoop mud from the bottom of the Delaware River and dump it on part of the nature park.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has OKed the plan.

More than 100 people crowded Monday into the small meeting room of the Burlington County Bridge Commission, most of them to speak against the $2.3 million plan.

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