Hauser Farm Will Become Aberdeen Township Park

June 4, 2012

Just under twenty-two acres of land, known as the Hauser Farm, was conveyed to Aberdeen Township for a future park, The Trust for Public Land announced today. The $950,000 purchase was funded through a combination of public and private funding sources, ensuring the property will not be developed and instead will become parkland open to the public. Funding sources for the purchase include the Monmouth County Municipal Open Space Grant Program and the State of New Jersey's Green Acres program, which each approved grants to the Township of Aberdeen for the purchase of the farm. Aberdeen Township provided additional funds and privately-raised capital was contributed by The Trust for Public Land and the Monmouth Conservation Foundation. New York-New Jersey Baykeeper assisted in obtaining funds from the NJ Office of Natural Resource Restoration.

"The many partners involved in acquiring the Hauser Farm for open space reflect the value that Monmouth County residents place on local parks and the waterways that flow into Raritan Bay," said Anthony Cucchi, state director for The Trust for Public Land. "The Trust for Public Land is pleased to be part of the partnership that came together to save this important property."

The Hauser Farm site had been identified by the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program (HEP) as a priority for protection, due to its location in the headwaters area for the Matawan Creek, which flows approximately 4 miles before emptying into Raritan Bay. The HEP program, a National Estuary Program authorized in 1987 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a multi-year effort to develop and implement a plan to protect, conserve and restore the estuary surrounding the nation's busiest port, which includes Raritan Bay.

"I am proud to be part of a Town Council that values the importance of preserving land," said Mayor Fred Tagliarini. "Working with the Trust for Public Land, county and state officials, New York-New Jersey Baykeeper, and Sen. Joseph Kyrillos has been an incredibly positive experience for our town and one that will benefit future generations. With a variety of passive recreation offerings that we envision to include hiking trails, picnic areas and bird-watching, this new park is sure to become a popular gathering spot for residents of all ages and interests."

Historically farmed, the site provides for a variety of critical wildlife habitats. Approximately one third of the property is forested and provides a protective border to the Matawan Creek on one side of the property and a tributary to the creek along its northwestern edge. The associated wetlands and uplands are home to the New Jersey threatened black-crowned night-heron as well as the Cooper's hawk, a New Jersey species of special concern. The property is also a feeding area for migratory birds as well as year-round habitat for red fox, turtles, and diverse wetland plant species such as Turk's cap lily, blazing stars, various types of arrowhead plants and rhododendron known as swamp-honeysuckle.

"The Board of Trustees and the staff at Monmouth Conservation Foundation, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary, believe this acquisition represents a tremendous preservation opportunity in the area for the enjoyment of the entire Monmouth County community," said Bill Kastning, the new executive director of the Monmouth Conservation Foundation. "The 21 acres we have collectively worked to preserve represents a vital and active area of open space and wetland, inhabited by a wide and unique variety of wildlife. It is gratifying to know the partners in this acquisition can ensure those living in the area and visiting the area, as well as future generations, will all have an environmental sanctuary solely dedicated to their enjoyment."

The property is located approximately one half mile west of the Freehold-to-Aberdeen section of the Henry Hudson Trail and could become an extension of that recreation route if adjoining properties in the area are acquired as open space. Preservation of the property also prevents a large-scale townhouse and apartment development that had been approved for this site and an adjacent property.

Martha Sapp, acting administrator, for the Green Acres Program said, "We are very pleased to have participated in this important acquisition with our partners, ensuring that the public will have access to the Matawan Creek and surrounding land."

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has helped protect 3 million acres nationwide, including more than 25,000 acres in New Jersey. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.