PROLOGUE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
(The late) Richard Dunlap
(Former) Chairman, Warren County Environmental Commission,
Executive Director, Pohatcong Grasslands Project,
Board of Directors, Phillipsburg Riverview Organization
Environmental commissions take many diverse paths. This is sometimes due
to the circumstances under which they were created. Were they born out of
a visionary thought or thrown together in reaction to the needs of the moment?
Is their membership made up of environmental professionals, energetic amateurs,
or a good mix of both? Does their governing body allow them the flexibility
to explore issues and pursue constructive answers or is there a stifling 'don't
go there' attitude at every juncture?
The Warren County Environmental Commission, one of the few County Commissions
in the State, is fortunate on all these points. The Commission was created
through the vision of the Warren County Freeholders, especially Freeholder
Director Susan Dickey. It is blessed with a very active membership, made up
of professionals in several environmental fields and of well-tutored amateurs.
The County legislation creating the Commission gave it a wide field of endeavor
and a broader range than most municipal Commissions.
It is my belief that the success of a Commission is largely determined by
its membership and by the 'length of the learning curve.' For a variety of
reasons, a turnover of membership is inevitable, especially in the first few
years of its existence. This is what I call the 'learning curve.' It takes
time to form good working relationships among the Commission members and more
time for the Commission to form good working relationships with other arms
of County government. Eventually, the Commission begins to function as a team.
Teamwork is a key ingredient in producing a document of this scope. The successful completion of this Warren County Environmental Resources Inventory (ERI) is the result of the contributions of many individuals. From initial concept to publication, this Environmental Resources Inventory took three years, being put together piece by piece and layer by layer. Keeping the whole project on track
was the responsibility of the ERI Subcommittee, which included Audrey Gilmour, David Peifer, George White and myself.
I cannot offer enough gratitude to the members of this Subcommittee, who donated many hours, many ideas, and their professional skills to bring this project to a culmination. Other Commission members were just as willing; and, at critical moments, would volunteer, "I'll do it!" Most of the chapters describing Warren County's 22 municipalities were written by these members. Commission member Terry Maher wrote seven of them. Municipal environmental commissioners helped supply the information. Thank you, one and all!
One of the most difficult parts of the task was deciding what would be included and what could be put aside until the document is updated. Compiling an environmental or natural resources inventory is one of the Commission's most important jobs. It provides baseline documentation of natural resources for the Commission as well as for the public and helps to evaluate those resources to insure their protection.
Some information was not included because of time and funding constraints, and some because available data or maps were incomplete or being revised. The Subcommittee was constantly reshaping the contents, and the project continued to evolve to the very end. No sooner was one project completed, than someone would say, "What if we…..?" Because the Commission realized that environmental inventories must be constantly changing, when more or better information becomes available or as man-made changes occur on the landscape, the document has been bound in a loose-leaf format to allow for additions and revisions.
During this endeavor, we realized that professional help was necessary to take on certain technical tasks and to make the information as accurate as possible. We were fortunate to have hired Brain Carson, a Rutgers student, to help us with the initial creation of the GIS maps (Geographical Information
Systems for computerized mapping). Subcommittee member George White,
proprietor of White Environmental Services in Flanders, revised the maps where necessary and also wrote several parts of the text, including the chapter on hydrography and topography. Working under tight deadlines was Margaret McGarrity, an advisor and compiler extraordinaire, without whom this product would not have been completed on time. She was constantly exploring for other sources of information and assistance, while overseeing the accuracy and
consistency of the document.
Our thanks are also extended to the many other professional volunteers from County, State, and Federal agencies who wrote the chapters in their specialties: David Dech and Albert Krause of the Warren County Planning Department, Susan Morgan and George Warne of the Warren County Cultural and Heritage Commission, Dan Jones of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Don Monteverde of the New Jersey Geological Survey, Michael Valent of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife. Joan Walsh of the New Jersey Audubon Society provided data from the Breeding Bird Atlas Project for Warren County.
We especially thank Robert Canace, of the N.J. Geological Survey, who not only wrote the chapter on aquifers but who also, as the first co-chairman of the Warren County Environmental Commission along with Lois Markle, took part in the initial discussions proposing an ERI.
Dan Thompson, an imaging specialist, spent many hours helping me prepare the front and back covers and the 12 pieces for the chapters.
David Peifer, a Commission and Subcommittee member and Executive Director of the Upper Raritan Watershed Association, contributed mightily to the project. I am most grateful for his participation in the many long brainstorming sessions and for his extensive knowledge of all that must be contained in an environmental inventory and of where to find that information. David wrote three
of the introductory chapters, sections on soils and rail corridors, and the conclusions and recommendations.
Audrey Gilmour, a Commission and Subcommittee member who is an editor and writer, spent many hours reviewing the document for content, style, accuracy, and consistency.
Former Commission member Ursula Perrin wrote descriptions of several of the County's historic sites and also the chapter on Frelinghuysen Township.
Former Commission members Cheryl Burket and Walter Brandt also contributed.
Albert Krouse, Senior Planner in the Warren County Planning Department, served as the liasion between the Environmental Commission and his Department.
Compilers of hawk-watch data include Jack McCormick at Raccoon Ridge, Tom Laura at Oko Jumbo, and myself at Scotts Mountain. Joe Dziedzina put this information together into tables for the ERI.
The photographs came from many sources. Individual photographers include Joe Orchulli II, George White, Richard Biggins, C. E. Nielsen, Al Ivany of the NJDEP Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, Greg Sipple of the Warren County Planning Department, and myself. The Express Times of Easton, Pennsylvania, the National Park Service, and other photographers from the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife also provided pictures.
For my part, it was a great pleasure to have managed this team and to have directed the completion of this Herculean task. I hope my enthusiasm helped.
The Warren County Environmental Commission intends that the Environmental Resources Inventory will become a tool to help us use our valuable resources wisely not just for the citizens of Warren County but for everyone. The Commission sees this document as a work in progress, which will be revised regularly to add new, more accurate, or more useful information.
It is with pride and a great sense of accomplishment that we present this document to Warren County's residents and to future generations. We hope this ERI will help us all prosper and chart a good course into the twenty-first century.