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County Breaks Ground on Wild Duck Pond Restoration in Ridgewood
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, today Bergen County broke ground on a cornerstone ecological restoration project that will return the beloved Wild Duck Pond in Ridgewood to that of its glory days, preserving it for the enjoyment of future generations. The restoration is expected to be complete next year and through the construction of stormwater treatment wetlands as well as the installation of a new pond liner, the project will restore ecological functions of the pond, enhance public use, and prevent the threat of fish kills from lack of oxygen. This is yet another project underway in our nearly 10,000 acres of Bergen County Parks System, which demonstrates both the Bergen County Board of Commissioners and administration’s continued commitment to the preservation of open space, the protection of our environment, and the enhancement of our parks.
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco was joined by Bergen County Commissioners , Village of Ridgewood Mayor Susan Kundsen and former Mayor of Ridgewood and County Commissioner Ramone Hach .
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, the Board of Commissioners, and the Bergen County Parks Department broke ground to mark the start of an ecological restoration project at the Wild Duck Pond area of Saddle River County Park in Ridgewood.
The $1.7 million project, funded through the Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund and NJDEP’s Green Acres Program, will restore the ecological functions of the pond and enhance public use. Consistent with the 2019 Bergen County Parks Master Plan, this ecological restoration will highlight several environmental controls, such as the implementation of stormwater best management practices through the construction of stormwater treatment wetlands, fringe wetlands within the pond, and the utilization of native plants appropriate for this freshwater wetland system. This will allow the conveyance channel to accept stormwater runoff from adjacent streets and filter it as it proceeds down the channel into the pond before making its way to the Saddle River.
The project will also install a new pond liner and an at-grade pump system to provide stability in the water surface elevations. All of these steps will have the overall effect of restoring wetlands and establishing conditions for a diversity of native flora and fauna. It will also reduce the threat of fish kills from a lack of oxygen in the pond.
“Today, we marked the beginning of an ecological restoration that will return the Wild Duck Pond to its glory days and preserve the pond for the enjoyment of future generations,” said Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco. “When I become County Executive, I made a commitment that the preservation of open space, protection of our environment, and enhancement of our park system would be among my top priorities. Today’s groundbreaking is yet another example of that commitment.”
“The groundbreaking at the Wild Duck Pond is yet another example of the County following through on the long-term vision outlined in the Bergen County Parks Master Plan,” said Commissioner Chair Steve Tanelli. “The project will not only restore native plants to the area but falls in line with the County’s commitment to a sustainable and modernized parks system for Bergen County families to enjoy.”
“The Village of Ridgewood is grateful to County Executive Jim Tedesco for his commitment to the restoration of the Wild Duck Pond and for his dedication to ensuring all county parks remain beautiful and accessible,” said Village of Ridgewood Mayor Susan Knudsen. “The restoration project has been several years in the making and Jim Tedesco, along with the County Commissioners, are to be commended for their tireless work and diligence on behalf of Bergen County.”
“The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is happy to partner with Bergen County on this significant stewardship project,” said Martha Sullivan Sapp, director of the DEP’s Green Acres Program. “This important improvement effort will restore the health of Wild Duck Pond, enhancing its recreational and educational benefits for the public.”
“The Wild Duck Pond Ecological Restoration project will mean countless migratory bird species will find a healthy environment to rest and find food on their long journeys, as well as provide much needed nesting habitat that has been disappearing over the years,” said Don Torino, President of the Bergen County Audubon Society. “This project is a result of the good people in our County Government caring and doing the right thing for nature and for the people of Bergen County.”
An ecological restoration proposal was initially solicited from Biohabitats, Inc. in December 2017. The Board of Commissioners awarded the construction contract to EarthWorks, Inc. in April 2021. Construction is expected to be completed in 202