EDISON – (Dec. 18, 2017) – The state Legislature has awarded a $200,000 grant for the Dismal Swamp Preservation Commission to fund a survey and environmental studies of the sprawling 1,278-acre Edison preserve which also encompasses portions of Metuchen and South Plainfield.
Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-18th Dist.), a former Edison councilman, was the driving force behind the Legislative grant, administered by the state Department of Community Affairs. Grant monies may also to be used for environmental studies, access trails, signage, restoration initiatives, and educational and natural heritage programs.
“Dismal Swamp is Edison’s largest wetland and hardwood forest preserve. It is an environmental jewel among my town’s many parks and open spaces,” Karabinchak said. “I am proud to help secure new state funding for this vital natural habitat.”
“Edison places a high premium on preserving our environment. This substantial grant will enable us to better protect our community’s largest natural resource and enable greater public access to Dismal Swamp,” said Mayor Thomas Lankey.
The Dismal Swamp Preservation Commission – with members appointed from Edison, Metuchen and South Plainfield – is to receive its first, $100,000 grant payment before Dec. 31 so it can move forward with its priority activities, said Chris Mazauskas, Edison’s resource development officer.
Dismal Swamp provides a habitat for 175 species of birds, 25 species of mammals and 25 species of amphibians and reptiles. It is also home to numerous trees and plants, many designated as rare, threatened or endangered. Archaeological digs in Dismal Swamp have unearthed artifacts, including ones found to be over 10,000-year-old.
Preservation Commission members include Metuchen Councilwoman Dorothy Rasmussen, Edison Councilman Robert Diehl, Freeholder Charles Tomaro, environmentalists Walter R. Stochel Jr. and Robert Spiegel, both of Edison; Kenneth Sammond, Ph.d of Metuchen; Peter Smith of South Plainfield; and Dunellen Mayor Robert Seader.