Christie Administration Announces Restoration of Natural Areas at Liberty State Park

On Thursday, January 11, 2018, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced a project that ultimately will transform 240 acres of Liberty State Park – closed to the public for decades due to low levels of contamination from historic fill – into a mosaic of freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, forests, and grasslands to benefit both people and wildlife.

“This project, funded in large part by settlements with past polluters, will restore a large interior portion of Liberty to provide additional places for people to connect with nature in New Jersey’s most-visited state park,” Commissioner Martin said today. “This project advances the Christie Administration’s goal of continuing to enhance the public’s enjoyment of this flagship of New Jersey’s state park system, as well as parks across the state.”

The project area, which is nearly 20 percent of the park’s total acreage, has been closed off to the public for decades by a chain-link fence because it is contaminated with low levels of metals and hydrocarbons from past placement of dirt to fill in low-lying areas.

The overall cost of all phases of the project is expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars, and will be funded primarily through Natural Resource Damages (NRD) settlements secured by the state from polluters.

NRD settlements compensate the public for the lost enjoyment of and adverse impacts to a natural resource – such as ground water, waterways and areas of land – caused by pollution. The state seeks this compensation separate from and in addition to any costs responsible parties incur to remediate pollution.

Read this story in its entirety on the DEP website.