Giffordtown Bog Waits for Solution

By PAT JOHNSON | May 01, 2019
Photo by: Pat Johnson Bog adjacent to Giffordtown Lane in Little Egg Harbor is drained awaiting a new dam. Springtime has seen an uptick in freshwater turtles crossing the road and getting squashed.

Little Egg Harbor Township — A resident taking Giffordtown Lane in Little Egg Harbor Township called the newspaper about turtles being killed as they tried to cross the road between the bogs and the stream that runs into Tuckerton’s Lake Pohatcong. About six or seven small painted turtles were found dead along the roadside before the Ocean County street sweeper came through on Monday.

Perhaps the turtles were coming out of hibernation in the mud of the bogs and were attempting to get to deeper water, as the bogs have been drained.

Superintendent Melissa McCooley of Pinelands Regional School District, which owns the bogs behind the Pinelands Regional High School, answered a question about the bogs by email on April 24:

“We have been informed by N.J. Dam Safety that the entire dam must be replaced. We obtained a very large estimate to replace it. According to the state, the school district, the county and the township are all responsible for the repairs. We are not getting full cooperation and have reached out to our attorney for assistance.”

On Thursday, April 25, during the regular township municipal meeting, the Little Egg Harbor mayor and committee were asked if they were responsible for any part of replacing the dam. Township Administrator Matthew Spadaccini said the township was being kept up to date on the matter but was not responsible for replacing the dam. Former mayor Ray Gormley suggested the turtles were probably sunning themselves on the roadway.

Last September the school district was ordered by the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Dam Safety division to drain the bogs. At that time, the district reached out to the county and township for help, and the township had its engineer estimate the cost to replace the dam. T& M Associates said that in order to bring the dam into compliance with the NJDEP Dam Safety rules, it would cost between $155,000 and $280,000.

The cost may be higher if Dam Safety at the NJDEP requires a “downstream inundation analysis or the preparation of an emergency action plan.”

When the DEP ordered the bogs to be drained, it did not require the fish and wildlife to be transported to other waters, as it assumed they would “migrate to deeper water.”  —P.J.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.