HACKENSACK, NJ – On April 18th, Bergen County officials authorized a pair of resolutions accepting nearly $1.4 million in New Jersey Green Acres program funding to increase public access and restore wetland and riparian habitat in portions of Overpeck County Park in Teaneck.
This innovative habitat restoration project will include managing stormwater through the park using regenerative stormwater conveyance techniques, an innovative green infrastructure approach used to slow down and dissipate stormwater energies while alsoreconnecting a stream to its floodplain, restoring its ability to naturally slow down and filter polluted water and provide habitat. This use of regenerative stormwater conveyance will be the first of its kind used in New Jersey to restore wetland, riparian and stream habitat while also managing stormwater.
“Ecological stewardship practices will be a featured emphasis in the new County Parks Master Plan,” said James G. Koth, Director of the Department of Parks. “This green infrastructure project is consistent with the goals of the master plan to protect critical environments and habitats, and mitigate flooding by managing storm water with green infrastructure in our parks”.
Area I of Overpeck Park is currently home to the Teaneck Creek Conservancy and contains roughly 1.8 miles of trails as well as outdoor classrooms and ecological art exhibits. Area II is largely undeveloped and is currently closed to the public. Grant funding will provide safe public access to this park area. Resolution # 308-18 adopted by the Freeholders on April 18th authorizes acceptance of a $1.25 million Park Development Grant that will be used to improve these areas by creating more public access trails, undertaking wetland habitat restoration, and creating parking and trails for the Area II portion of the County Park.
Similarly, Resolution # 309-18 authorized the acceptance of $113,000 from the Green Acres Park Stewardship Grant, a new State program, to improve stormwater flow into Area I. One of the stormwater inlets is so eroded and degraded that it is called Stormwater Canyon. A sand seepage wetland design will hold stormwater, allowing water to soak into the ground through newly constructed seepage zones, ultimately restoring and enhancing wetland and stream hydrology in the park.
Both projects mark the first time the County has applied for and received funding for natural resource protection and enhancement, which could serve as an example for other communities to deal with stormwater management.
“Our vote on April 18th allows Bergen County to use $1.4 million in State Green Acres Grants to improve the condition of Overpeck Park while improving access for our residents,” said Freeholder Chairman Tom Sullivan. “Seeking and obtaining state grants is another prime example of how we’re staying focused on improving the quality of life for Bergen County residents while being vigilant in finding cost-effective ways to meet our goals.”
“These grants allow the County to improve the western portions of Overpeck Park in Teaneck in an environmentally conscious way that preserves the natural character of the area while restoring the wetlands to their original state,” said County Executive Tedesco. “This is an innovative way of preserving and enhancing our parkland in Bergen County in a responsible way that allows it to accommodate more storm water and combat flooding in the surrounding area.”