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Teaneck Creek Restoration Project

Project Location

This project is located in the Township of Teaneck bounded to the south and southeast by the NJ Turnpike, to the west by Teaneck Road, to the north by Fycke Lane, and to the northeast by Frank W Burr Boulevard and a residential development. The site is located along Teaneck Creek, which flows to Overpeck Lake, eventually draining to the Hackensack River.

Site Map Teaneck Creek  Teaneck Creek Park Restoration Plan overall plan view 08 26 2020  Vicinity Map Teaneck Creek 

 

Project goals

This project has six primary goals:

  • Enhance the site’s natural resources
  • Increase biodiversity
  • Mitigate the erosive forces of stormwater throughout the site
  • Improve public access to the park and visitor experience
  • Improve community health and well-being
  • Educate the public about the Park’s habitat and ecology

The project will achieve these goals through the following actions:

  • Restoring the way water flows across the site through natural stormwater conveyance systems
  • Regrading portions of the site to create wetland habitat
  • Relocating and consolidating debris piles
  • Improving trail conditions
  • Removing invasive species and replacing them with native grasses, shrubs, and trees

The actions will result in the restoration of freshwater wetlands within the Park, removal of debris from publicly accessible areas, and a greater diversity of plants and animals.  Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance techniques will be used to repair eroded outfalls into the park to protect both natural areas and infrastructure such as nature trails from flooding, erosion, and degradation.  This strategy keeps the facilities safe while improving habitat and ecological function. Park access improvements are proposed to address deficient trails; inaccessible due to washouts, and repair and replace footbridges to provide for better public access. 

Project background

Overpeck County Park consists of about 1,000 acres that contain a variety of programming and amenities. Located in the northwest portion of Overpeck County Park, the 46-acre Teaneck Creek Park  (also known as Area I) currently consists of an established passive trail system that brings park users through riparian wetland habitats, remnants of past human disturbances, and ecological art exhibits throughout the park.  

In the early 1950s, Bergen County developed plans for the lands surrounding Overpeck Creek with the vision of creating a 1,000-acre county park. The Township of Teaneck transferred the 46-acre property to the County for the creation of a public park and recreation area in 1951.  Prior to this timeframe plans called for the property to be filled with clay material to serve as a base liner for a planned landfill. The landfill was never built, but the clay material was never removed. As a result of this past human disturbance the natural hydrology of the site was disrupted resulting in the colonization of invasive plant species on the property.

Through a partnership started in 2001, the non-profit Teaneck Creek Conservancy has organized citizen volunteers to care for the park while providing passive recreation and environmental education programs with a unique emphasis on Eco-Art community projects.  In 2007, the County and Conservancy teamed with Rutgers University to develop a conceptual restoration plan for the park focusing on improving the quality of wildlife habitat on the site, which would serve as a model for the Overpeck Creek watershed and other highly urbanized areas in the NY/NJ metropolitan region.

Since the Conservancy began in 2001, volunteers have worked tirelessly to improve conditions at the park by:

  • Using only hand tools to remove multiple dumpster loads of invasive plants and debris such as automotive parts, construction materials, and discarded household appliances;
  • Working with Eco-Artists to recycle concrete debris into artwork such as "Migration Mileposts" to celebrate the birds that pass through the site when migrating along the Atlantic Flyway; and
  • Creating a Peace Labyrinth

To expand upon these efforts and the goals of the conceptual restoration plan, in 2014 the Department of Parks retained an ecological restoration firm, Biohabitats Inc., to perform the final habitat and wetlands restoration plan for Teaneck Creek Park.

Bergen County Parks Master Plan

The proposed restoration actions are consistent with the vision, goals, and objectives of the Bergen County Parks Master Plan that was adopted by Freeholder Resolution No. 19-35 on December 18, 2019.  The companion Bergen County Department of Parks Inventory, dated April 9, 2019 observed and recommended for Teaneck Creek Park:

The park is completely overgrown with invasive plants, including extreme densities of Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), common reed (Phragmites australis), mile-a-minute vine (Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H. Gross, porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) and garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolate). In order to restore this ecosystem the invasive plants must be removed and native species reintroduced and maintained.  Signage throughout the park is not uniform and many signs are in need of repair or weathered enough to make them unreadable. New, updated and weather-resistant signage is needed. (Page 66)

Project timeline

Fall 2018: Final design for the project was completed by Biohabitats Inc.

July 15, 2020: Board of Chosen Freeholders awarded a contract to an ecological construction company, SumCo Eco-Contracting, to implement the project plans.

Fall 2020: Anticipated commencement of construction.

Fall 2021: Anticipated completion of construction.

Public involvement

Beginning in 2007, the Department of Parks, the Conservancy and Rutgers University held several planning and community meetings to engage community residents to formulate vision of the wetlands and habitat restoration project for this park. These meetings were followed by two formal public events.

July 2018: The Department of Parks conducted a public meeting to present the 80% completed habitat restoration design plans for public discussion.

Winter 2017: The Board of Chosen Freeholders conducted a public hearing to obtain comments from the public on the County’s grant application to the New Jersey Green Acres Program.

Project funding sources

The total estimated cost to implement the Teaneck Creek Park Habitat Restoration Project is $5.6 million.  Projects of this scale are typically funded by various sources including competitive grants for the purpose of wildlife habitat restoration/enhancement, wetlands restoration/enhancement, invasive species removal/control; and facilities that provide or enhance public environmental education.  

Funding for the project includes:

  • New Jersey Green Acres park development and environmental stewardship
  • Bergen County Open Space Preservation Trust Fund
  • Bergen County Capital Funding

For more information about the Teaneck Creek Park Habitat Restoration Project, please contact Adam Strobel, Bergen County Department of Parks.

Contact Us

Adam Strobel

Director of The Division of Land Management


 Bergen County Department of Parks

One Bergen County Plaza • 4th Floor • Hackensack, NJ 07601-7076

Phone: 201-336-7275