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Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Interpretive Center Part of Pond Creek Project

The Pond Creek and Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area

By Rebecca Fox

VILLAS – Lower Township Council, during its Nov. 15 meeting, heard about a proposed Pond Creek and Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area (WMA) project. 

David Golden, director, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, explained the purpose is to restore the marsh and add some recreation areas, as well. 

It was said that currently, the marsh in the area is struggling with an invasive marsh plant.  

“Much of this project is designed to restore the marsh to natural habitat,” Golden said, regarding Pond Creek, “and the way to do this is by restoring natural tidal flow to the marsh.” 

The project will be completed in three phases, and work is anticipated to begin in late 2022 or possibly early 2023.  

Phase one and two will be marsh enhancement and upland habitat restoration. Phase three entails an interpretive center. 

“The project is designed and built around not only habitat restoration, but public access,” Golden said. “There are a number of recreational elements that are in place as we design this.” 

Aside from the interpretive center, some other points of public access include wildlife blinds, where visitors will be able to view the area’s wildlife.  

There will also be an upland berm around the Pond Creek restoration site, which will be at a height where it will function in holding back tides and allow public access for visitors to be able to walk around.  

The project should go out to bid by the end of the year, as all necessary permits have been received. It’s hoped that a contractor will be selected for the work by spring 2022.  

Higbee Beach WMA is a “hotspot” for bird migration and a lot of wildlife-watching recreational activities take place there.  

“This will only enhance that,” Golden said. “I suspect that once this is built and we have trails and the bird blinds in place, that you’ll see more people coming down to Lower Township to go to Higbee Beach and to view the habitat restoration project.” 

“I wish you could start sooner,” Councilman Thomas Conrad added. “We need trails, and we need this in Cape May County, especially in Lower. I’m thrilled.” 

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