Saddler’s Woods surrounds the headwater spring of the main branch of the Newton Creek, called Saddler’s Run, which is a tributary of the Delaware River in Camden County, NJ, and contains an old growth forest, young woodlands and wetlands all located within five miles of Philadelphia. The 15 acre parcel is permanently protected by a conservation easement. Saddler’s Woods was officially named in January of 2004 to honor Joshua Saddler, a runaway slave who escaped a Maryland plantation with his wife and two daughters in the early 1800s. Saddler eventually earned his freedom and thrived, farming on the border of the woods. Saddler attempted to make protections for the woods when he wrote into his will in 1868 that “to commit no waste,… no heirs shall cut the timber thereon.” -JS 1868
This habitat enhancement project is crucial for the restoration of the Newton Creek Watershed, which is an essential habitat for a large number of migratory songbirds, waterfowl and fish and necessary in order to help protect the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy Aquifer, from which many in the region – 472,000 people in Camden county alone – draw their drinking water.
It is imperative to rehabilitate one of the last remaining examples of old growth forest in the Eastern United States. Less than 0.05% of the forests in the Eastern United States can be considered old growth which makes this forest a superlative habitat. With its unique historical and cultural contexts, Saddler’s Woods merits the highest committed investment for its rehabilitation.
Saddler’s Woods Conservation Association ( SWCA) will:
- remove debris and eradicate invasive species throughout 15 acres of forest and plant native species in four acres of target restoration zones;
- plant native vegetation along the stream bank and install coir logs along the streambank to control erosion;
- restore and maintain over 1600 linear feet of trail including a new bike path of 1,000 linear feet;
- continue to improve the volunteer center facility and acquire tools and equipment for volunteer restoration activities;
- conduct species surveys to document flora and fauna, which will guide restoration initiatives like the newly erected deer exclosure;
- acquire educational items, update the trail map, and infrastructure for the new Haddon Township Environmental & Historical center; and
- expand operations to grow the organization with personnel and other critical operational needs.
Adjacent to Saddler’s Woods at the Van Sciver Elementary School, The Delaware Riverkeeper Network was responsible for installing a 15,000 square foot rain garden & landscape planted with native trees, shrubs, perennials and meadow species; an additional 11,000 square feet of lawn was converted into a native meadow. The rain garden and meadow slow down and clean stormwater runoff from roads, parking lots, roofs and lawn areas, and enable the stormwater to infiltrate into the soil. This infiltrated water helps maintain a healthy base flow for Saddler’s Run in Saddler’s Woods, as well as Newton Creek downstream. The stormwater runoff attenuation also helps alleviate the erosion currently occurring along Saddler’s Run.
Ecosystem Services Provided:
Water Protection, Filtration & Control: Water quantity- protection of groundwater recharge area, stream buffers, reforestation, avoided deforestation; Flood control- riparian land protection
Climate Stabilization and Air Pollution Mitigation: carbon sequestration- avoided deforestation
Biological Diversity: Habitat- protection of old growth forest; Ecosystem resilience, pest control, disease control- ecosystem-level management
Recreation and Aesthetics: Environmental education
Total Project Cost: $115,000
CRI has provided continued funding for this project through its Franklin Parker Small Grants program:
Status: Over the winter of 2011-12, SWCA volunteers were able to weed invasive species such as English ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, and Multiflora rose. SWCA was also able to engage a contractor to remove large piles of debris dumped on site prior to the preservation of the property. Think Green LLC removed over 7 tons of spoiled soil, dumped trash, and clean concrete, which was recycled at a nearby facility. The rain garden and meadow were designed by Meliora Environmental Design and Jonathan Alderson Landscape Architects with guidance from the Delaware Riverkeeper Network; they were installed by ThinkGreen LLC in the spring of 2012. Saddler’s Woods Conservation Association partnered with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network in holding a volunteer planting day in June 2012 when native perennials were added to the rain garden and meadow. Maintenance was provided during the summer of 2012 to help establish the plantings.
If you would like further information about this project, please contact Conservation Resources.