December 1, 1993
Location: The 35.4 miles of the Maurice River
travel through southern New Jeresy enroute to the Delaware
of the Atlantic flyway, pristine habitats support endangered
species and are vital to the migration of birds, waterfowl,
rails and fish.
communities work with the National Park Service to identify
and resolve management issues and coordinate planning.
The Maurice River and its tributaries drain the southwest
portion of the Pinelands National Reserve, providing a critical
link between the Reserve and the Delaware Estuary. The Pinelands
Commission considers the entire Manumuskin watershed an ecologically
critical area, with the vast, unspoiled Kirkwood-Cohansey
aquifer underlying most of the region. State and local governments,
and conservation organizations own significant acreage for
preservation purposes. The rivers and associated wetlands
serve as nurseries for ocean-going wildlife, offering food
and habitat for resident and migrating species, many of which
are considered endangered. Each year, huge flocks of birds
alight within the watershed to enjoy the area's natural bounty.
The Maurice River corridor is rich in
natural, cultural and historical significance. Its tributaries,
and the bay beyond, not only shaped the lifestyle and livelihood
of the region's past inhabitants, but they continue to support
the areas' economy and the lifestyle of many residents today.
Early industries relied on the river water channeled swiftly
into flowing mill races. Some residents built dikes so they
could farm the often boggy land close to the river. Others
worked in maritime occupations. Local ship builders provided
vessels for fishing and for carrying local products to distant
markets. The region's entire glass making industry emerged
because of, and still depends on the sandy deposits found
throughout the watershed. Cumberland County's heritage is
steeped in the history of the Lenni-Lenape people, a nation
that numbers some 6,000 inhabitants at the time of the earliest
colonial explorations of the Delaware Bay region.