Oritani Marsh

Category: Candidate Restoration/Preservation Site

Location: Bordered to the northeast by Berry’s Creek Canal, to the southeast by the New Jersey Turnpike – Western Spur, and to the west by New Jersey Transit Bergen Line in East Rutherford, Bergen County.

Latitude/Longitude: 40.80229/-74.08405

Current Land Use: Tidal marsh

Size: 224 acres

Current Ownership: NJMC

Site Description: Oritani Marsh is an undeveloped tract that includes upland areas and high and low marsh areas, with small tidal channels in certain areas of the site. Present elevations at the Oritani Marsh site are substantially higher than that of the average daily tide, resulting in minimal hydrologic connections to the adjacent Berry’s Creek Canal and the Hackensack River. The upland areas are dominated by a dense monoculture of common reed (Phragmites australis). The high marsh areas are dominated by saltmarsh hay (Spartina patens), while the low marsh areas are dominated by smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), marsh fleabane (Pluchea pupurascens), and dwarf spikerush (Eleocharis pavula). The northern portions of the tract along the Berry’s Creek Canal received spoils from the original dredging of the canal between 1902 and 1908. The northeastern half of the site received hydraulically broadcast spoils removed from the New Jersey Turnpike construction during the mid-1950s. Together, these activities eliminated a large portion of the low saltmarsh, burying it beneath several feet of fill material. This site has also been known as the Sisselman Tract.

Existing Site-Specific Data Inventory

A. Survey, Maps, and GIS

HMD regional data exists inclusive of this site. Survey conducted for 2001 baseline study.

B. Real Estate/Ownership

Owned by NJMC. Acquisition data available from the NJMC website.

C. Site History & Land Use

Existing condition surveyed for baseline studies report.

D. Biological Studies – Fauna

Baseline studies and wildlife monitoring was conducted in 2001 and an assessment of benthic invertebrates and bird and mammal usage was completed in 2003.

E. Biological Studies – General Environmental

Baseline data collected in 1999 and 2001, site monitoring conducted in 2001, and a vegetation assessment completed in 2003. A JD was issued in 2000. Wetland assessments performed in 2003.

F. Geotechnical

Baseline data collected in 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2003.

G. Hydraulics and Hydrology

Baseline data collected in 1999.

H. Water and Sediments

Baseline data collected in 1998, 1999, and 2003.

I. Historical/Cultural Resources

No data obtained.

J. Restoration/Remediation Design Plans

A conceptual wetland mitigation plan was investigated in 1999 and 2001.

Site Reports

Site #24 – Oritani Marsh

Category: Candidate Restoration/Preservation Site

Location: Bordered to the northeast by Berry’s Creek Canal, to the southeast by the New Jersey Turnpike – Western Spur, and to the west by New Jersey Transit Bergen Line in East Rutherford, Bergen County.

Latitude/Longitude: 40.80229 / -74.08405

Current Land Use: Tidal marsh

Size: 224 acres

Current Ownership: NJMC

Site Description: Oritani Marsh is an undeveloped tract that includes upland areas and high and low marsh areas, with small tidal channels in certain areas of the site. Present elevations at the Oritani Marsh site are substantially higher than that of the average daily tide, resulting in minimal hydrologic connections to the adjacent Berry’s Creek Canal and the Hackensack River. The upland areas are dominated by a dense monoculture of common reed (Phragmites australis). The high marsh areas are dominated by saltmarsh hay (Spartina patens), while the low marsh areas are dominated by smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), marsh fleabane (Pluchea pupurascens), and dwarf spikerush (Eleocharis pavula).

The northern portions of the tract along the Berry’s Creek Canal received spoils from the original dredging of the canal between 1902 and 1908. The northeastern half of the site received hydraulically broadcast spoils removed from the New Jersey Turnpike construction during the mid-1950s. Together, these activities eliminated a large portion of the low saltmarsh, burying it beneath several feet of fill material.

Existing Site Specific Data Inventory

* – Report repeated under multiple data categories and/or sites.

A.  Survey, Maps, and GIS

Relevant survey, mapping, and GIS data for the Meadowlands can be found in the Meadowlands-wide site report under data category A.

1.      *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Oritani Marsh Mitigation Site: Baseline Studies. February 2001. [2a]Following the feasibility analysis conducted in 1999, multiple biological, chemical, and geomorphological studies were conducted to characterize existing site conditions and potential contamination. A topographic survey was conducted by GEOD Corporation in conjunction with the baseline studies. A discussion the implications of the studies’ results on the restoration plan for Oritani Marsh was also included.

B.   Real Estate/Ownership

Oritani Marsh is owned by NJMC.

2.      NJMC. Oritani Marsh Acquisition Information. September 2003.

(from http://www.hmdc.state.nj.us/eip/wl-oritani.html)

Date of Acquisition: March 25, 1998

Cost of Acquisition:  $2,200,000

Acquired from:         Sisselman Israel Associates

C.  Site History & Land Use

3.      *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Oritani Marsh Mitigation Site: Baseline Studies. February 2001. [2a]Following the feasibility analysis conducted in 1999, multiple biological, chemical, and geomorphological studies were conducted to characterize existing site conditions and potential contamination. A topographic survey was conducted by GEOD Corporation in conjunction with the baseline studies. A discussion the implications of the studies’ results on the restoration plan for Oritani Marsh was also included.

D.  Biological Studies – Fauna

4.      *Barrett, K. R., M. A. McBrien, & F. J. Artigas. Chemical and Biotic Assessment of Oritani Marsh, a Degraded Brackish Marsh in the Hackensack Meadowlands, Northeastern NJ. Abstract of the Meadowlands Symposium. 2003. [1a]Oritani Marsh was assessed for vegetation, soil/sediment chemistry, abundance/diversity of benthic invertebrates, and bird and mammal usage.

5.      *Donald J. Smith Environmental Consultants. Monthly Report: Harrier Meadow, Mill Creek, Skeetkill Creek Marsh, Oritani Marsh, Riverbend Wetlands Preserve and Secaucus High School. August 2001. [1a] Monthly observation report summarizing site conditions, management recommendations, and wildlife monitoring data at the Harrier Meadow, Mill Creek, Skeetkill Creek Marsh, Oritani Marsh, Riverbend Wetlands Preserve, and Secaucus High School sites. Includes photographs documenting environmental conditions.

6.      *Donald J. Smith Environmental Consultants. Monthly Report: Harrier Meadow, Mill Creek, Skeetkill Creek Marsh, Oritani Marsh, Riverbend Wetlands Preserve and Secaucus High School. September 2001. [1a] Monthly observation report summarizing site conditions, management recommendations, and wildlife monitoring data at the Harrier Meadow, Mill Creek, Skeetkill Creek Marsh, Oritani Marsh, Riverbend Wetlands Preserve, and Secaucus High School sites. Includes photographs documenting environmental conditions.

7.      *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Oritani Marsh Mitigation Site: Baseline Studies. February 2001. [2a]Following the feasibility analysis conducted in 1999, multiple biological, chemical, and geomorphological studies were conducted to characterize existing site conditions and potential contamination. A topographic survey was conducted by GEOD Corporation in conjunction with the baseline studies. A discussion the implications of the studies’ results on the restoration plan for Oritani Marsh was also included.

E.   Biological Studies – General Environmental

8.      *Barrett, K. R., M. A. McBrien, & F. J. Artigas. Chemical and Biotic Assessment of Oritani Marsh, a Degraded Brackish Marsh in the Hackensack Meadowlands, Northeastern NJ. Abstract of the Meadowlands Symposium. 2003 [1a]Oritani Marsh was assessed for vegetation, soil/sediment chemistry, abundance/diversity of benthic invertebrates, and bird and mammal usage.

9.      *Donald J. Smith Environmental Consultants. Monthly Report: Harrier Meadow, Mill Creek, Skeetkill Creek Marsh, Oritani Marsh, Riverbend Wetlands Preserve and Secaucus High School. August 2001. [1a] Monthly observation report summarizing site conditions, management recommendations, and wildlife monitoring data at the Harrier Meadow, Mill Creek, Skeetkill Creek Marsh, Oritani Marsh, Riverbend Wetlands Preserve, and Secaucus High School sites. Includes photographs documenting environmental conditions.

10.  *Donald J. Smith Environmental Consultants. Monthly Report: Harrier Meadow, Mill Creek, Skeetkill Creek Marsh, Oritani Marsh, Riverbend Wetlands Preserve and Secaucus High School. September 2001. [1a] Monthly observation report summarizing site conditions, management recommendations, and wildlife monitoring data at the Harrier Meadow, Mill Creek, Skeetkill Creek Marsh, Oritani Marsh, Riverbend Wetlands Preserve, and Secaucus High School sites. Includes photographs documenting environmental conditions.

11.  *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Hydrogeomorphic (HGM) Functional Assessment Model and Guidebook for Tidal Fringe Wetlands in the New Jersey Meadowlands. 2003. [1a](http://merilibrary.meadowlands.state.nj.us/dbtw-wpd/FullText/HGM_guidebook_RVSD.pdf) A hydrogeomorphic functional assessment model and guidebook for tidal fringe wetlands in the Hackensack Meadowlands was completed. The HGM model can be used as a tool to help determine wetland functions and values and to approximate compensatory wetland mitigation. Map-based and on-site field data (including amount of aquatic edge, channel density, vegetative cover, habitat, soil texture, and tidal inundation) were collected from the reference wetlands and used to refine data collection forms, calibrate model variables, and improve the conceptual HGM functional models. Reference sites included Skeetkill Creek Marsh, Meadowlark Marsh, Lyndhurst Riverside Marsh, MRI, Western Brackish Marsh, Mill Creek Marsh, Eastern Brackish Marsh, Mori Tract, Walden Marsh, Oritani Marsh, Harrier Meadow, Anderson Creek Marsh, Kearny Brackish Marsh, and Riverbend Wetlands Preserve.

12.  *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Oritani Marsh. December 1999. [2a]A feasibility report reviewing existing information and the HMDC’s conceptual wetland mitigation plan for Oritani Marsh. The report provided a written summary of existing data and suggestions for additional data required to further develop a wetland mitigation plan for the site. Hydrology, ecology, geotechnical parameters, and the nature and extent of contamination were assessed.

13.  *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Oritani Marsh Mitigation Site: Baseline Studies. February 2001. [2a]Following the feasibility analysis conducted in 1999, multiple biological, chemical, and geomorphological studies were conducted to characterize existing site conditions and potential contamination. A topographic survey was conducted by GEOD Corporation in conjunction with the baseline studies. A discussion the implications of the studies’ results on the restoration plan for Oritani Marsh was also included.

14.  USACE. Jurisdictional Determination: Oritani Marsh (Application No. 1999-14600). 1/21/2000. [2] A jurisdictional determination was performed by the USACE in 2000 for Oritani Marsh.

F.   Geotechnical

15.  *Barrett, K. R., M. A. McBrien, & F. J. Artigas. Chemical and Biotic Assessment of Oritani Marsh, a Degraded Brackish Marsh in the Hackensack Meadowlands, Northeastern NJ. Abstract of the Meadowlands Symposium. 2003[1a]Oritani Marsh was assessed for vegetation, soil/sediment chemistry, abundance/diversity of benthic invertebrates, and bird and mammal usage.

16.  *Ducks Unlimited, Inc. Baseline Monitoring Program: Soil and Sediment Contamination at Wetland Enhancement Sites within the Hackensack Meadowlands. March 1998. [1a] Describes the results of soils sampling and analysis at several wetland restoration sites in the HMD, including Berry’s Creek Canal site (also known as Oritani Marsh), Harrier Meadow, Mill Creek Marsh, and the Saw Mill Creek Wildlife Management Area. Preliminary surveys were conducted to screen soils at the sites for detection of the presence of potential chemical contaminants that might affect future plans for wetland restoration.

17.  *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Oritani Marsh. December 1999. [2a]A feasibility report reviewing existing information and the HMDC’s conceptual wetland mitigation plan for Oritani Marsh. The report provided a written summary of existing data and suggestions for additional data required to further develop a wetland mitigation plan for the site. Hydrology, ecology, geotechnical parameters, and the nature and extent of contamination were assessed.

18.  *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Oritani Marsh Mitigation Site: Baseline Studies. February 2001. [2a]Following the feasibility analysis conducted in 1999, multiple biological, chemical, and geomorphological studies were conducted to characterize existing site conditions and potential contamination. A topographic survey was conducted by GEOD Corporation in conjunction with the baseline studies. A discussion the implications of the studies’ results on the restoration plan for Oritani Marsh was also included.

G.  Hydraulics and Hydrology

19.  *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Oritani Marsh. December 1999. [2a]A feasibility report reviewing existing information and the HMDC’s conceptual wetland mitigation plan for Oritani Marsh. The report provided a written summary of existing data and suggestions for additional data required to further develop a wetland mitigation plan for the site. Hydrology, ecology, geotechnical parameters, and the nature and extent of contamination were assessed.

H.  Water and Sediments

20.  *Barrett, K. R., M. A. McBrien, & F. J. Artigas. Chemical and Biotic Assessment of Oritani Marsh, a Degraded Brackish Marsh in the Hackensack Meadowlands, Northeastern NJ. Abstract of the Meadowlands Symposium. 2003. [1a]Oritani Marsh was assessed for vegetation, soil/sediment chemistry, abundance/diversity of benthic invertebrates, and bird and mammal usage.

21.  *Ducks Unlimited, Inc. Baseline Monitoring Program: Soil and Sediment Contamination at Wetland Enhancement Sites within the Hackensack Meadowlands. March 1998. [1a] Describes the results of soils sampling and analysis at several wetland restoration sites in the HMD, including Berry’s Creek Canal site (also known as Oritani Marsh), Harrier Meadow, Skeetkill Creek Marsh, and Mill Creek Marsh. Preliminary surveys were conducted to screen soils at the sites for detection of the presence of potential chemical contaminants that might affect future plans for wetland restoration.

22.  *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Oritani Marsh. December 1999. [2a]A feasibility report reviewing existing information and the HMDC’s conceptual wetland mitigation plan for Oritani Marsh. The report provided a written summary of existing data and suggestions for additional data required to further develop a wetland mitigation plan for the site. Hydrology, ecology, geotechnical parameters, and the nature and extent of contamination were assessed.

I.    Historical/Cultural Resources

No data obtained.

J.   Restoration/Remediation Design Plans

23.  *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Oritani Marsh. December 1999. [2a]A feasibility report reviewing existing information and the HMDC’s conceptual wetland mitigation plan for Oritani Marsh. The report provided a written summary of existing data and suggestions for additional data required to further develop a wetland mitigation plan for the site. Hydrology, ecology, geotechnical parameters, and the nature and extent of contamination were assessed.

24.  *The Louis Berger Group, Inc. Oritani Marsh Mitigation Site: Baseline Studies. February 2001. [2a]Following the feasibility analysis conducted in 1999, multiple biological, chemical, and geomorphological studies were conducted to characterize existing site conditions and potential contamination. A topographic survey was conducted by GEOD Corporation in conjunction with the baseline studies. A discussion the implications of the studies’ results on the restoration plan for Oritani Marsh was also included.

K. Bibliographic Updates                   

Site #24: Oritani Marsh