CLARK, NJ — The local reservoir has been a source of beauty to many and a cause of heartache to others throughout the town’s history. The wildlife, the views, the debris, the flooding; they are all part of the ups and downs of life along a waterway.
Mayor Bonaccorso hopes to bring more joy and less hardship from the reservoir to residents of Clark. At a recent council meeting Bonaccorso reported that he met with the Union County Manager, various department heads and freeholders to tour local access points around the reservoir in Clark.
According to Bonaccorso dredging is needed to help with the overall conditions of the reservoir. He said this work would allow the basin to better retain water during times of heavy rains, prevent flooding in low-lying areas in Clark as well as downstream in Rahway and could potentially open the area up to recreational use one day. He was also quick to point out that recreational areas would not be in the backyards of homeowners.
“When I was a kid in this town we fished, skated, played hockey, we did everything on the ressi,” said Bonaccorso. “Our kids in this town should be able to use it recreationally too. Back then it was dredged every five years with bulldozers taking out heaps of silt, fallen trees, fishing line, hooks, and stuff like that. Unfortunately today we can’t do that because environmentalists are so concerned about every bug, bird and microorganism that it makes these jobs much more costly.”
This job is projected to cost around 30 million dollars according to preliminary estimates from the county. During the meeting Bonaccorso said county representatives suggested bringing in a company called Green Vest to do a formal study of the area and to make recommendations of how best to proceed.
On their website, Green Vest describes itself as, “an environmental development and consulting firm, specializing in ecological restoration, mitigation service and sustainable land planning.”
Bonaccorso explained that Green Vest is a resource for local municipalities because they work with developers around the state to fund projects like the reservoir clean up. Developers looking to build in any area of the state can work with Green Vest to earn mitigation bank credits.
During an interview with TAPinto Clark, Bonaccorso simplified how this works.
“They (Green Vest) work with developers so for every one acre of land a developer is looking to develop somewhere in New Jersey, they pay for three acres of remediation somewhere else in the state,” he said.
The mayor praised Union County for suggesting this option as a way to pay for the project.
“I cannot thank the Union County Manager and his team enough for taking the time to meet with me, for considering this project, for talking to Green Vest,” said Bonaccorso. “I’m very impressed that they have a way to pull this off without reaching into Union County pockets, to pay for it, it’s awesome.”
Bonaccorso said the reservoir land was originally owned by Clark. Earlier in his administration he deeded ownership of the reservoir to Union County. The area became part of the 6,700 acre Union County Parks System in 2008.