BERGEN COUNTY UTILITIES AUTHORITY NATURE PRESERVE
Little Ferry, Bergen County, NJ
60 acres

Warning: Only Available to Residents of Bergen County and you need the permission of the Utilities Authority to gain access.


Directions:

Head west over the George Washington Bridge. Follow the signs for Route 46 west; cross over the bridge over the Hackensack River; follow the traffic circle on the other side of the bridge about 3/4 the way around (equivalent of a left turn) and head down Bergen Turnpike to a right turn onto Washington Avenue; turn left onto Mehrhof Road (by Silvana's Fine Italian Cuisine Restaurant). Head down the road and turn right onto Crescent Road (just before the Department of Public Works) and park in the big parking area.

The preserve is adjacent to Losen Slote Creek Park.


History:

This park, located on BCUA property, was dedicated in 1996.

The area will focus on education.


Trail:

There is a 1.5 mile trail circling Mehrhof Pond. A section of the HMDC's Meadows Path will transect the preserve.

7/09/2005.  On a beautiful day, a group of  Torrey Botanical Society participants met outside the gate of the Bergen County Utility Authority.  We had permission to tour their nature preserve for two hours.  A security guard let us in and we walked past the gate and turned left into the preserve.   We walked down the entrance road and then pushed into the meadow on the left.  There were a lot of meadowsweet and steeplebush in the area. 

After spending about an hour in this area we got back onto the main entrance road.  We walked a little farther down the road and then entered the woods on the right.  We made our way over to Mehrhof Pond.  The view is somewhat blocked by all the Phragmites.  But we walked over to a wooden viewing area to see the large pond.  The we walked back to the parking area to have our lunch.

After lunch we walked south down the Transco lateral gas pine line to view the 600 acre Empire Tract (off Empire Road).  There were a lot of huge mud puddles that we had to work our way around.  The puddles are due to the activity of the ATVs.  The trip leader told us about a crustacean, called the clam shrimp, that seems only to live in these mud puddles on dirt roads. 

We walked almost all the way down to the New Jersey Turnpike.  We turned right to make our way into the Empire Tract.  The group leader wanted to show us a bluejoint grass meadow set inside the mass of Phragmites.  There are quite a few of these meadows set up to 100 meters off the dirt road.  They may constitute as much as 10 to 20 percent of the Phragmites marsh.  From the trip leader, the group also earned about some of the insects and animals that eat Phragmites.  Some that I remember are the broad-winged skipper, Henry's marsh moth, and muskrats. 

Total attendance was 14 or so.  Some of the participants I remember included Dave Austin, Patrick and Rosemary Cooney, Dee Ann Ipp, Augie Matzdorf, Roberta Morganstern, Ceferino Santana, Bill and Eleanor Standaert, Gretchen Stevens, and Kathy of Staten Island.  The trip leader was Dr. Erik Kiviat.  Reported by Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Erik Kiviat and Torrey Botanical Society
* = plant blooming on date of field trip, 7/09/2005


Trees:
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)
Acer saccharum (silver maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Albizia julibrissin (mimosa)      *
Alnus glutinosa (black alder)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Crataegus sp. (hawthorn)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet gum)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Nyssa sylvatica (sour gum)
Pinus nigra (Austrian pine)
Populus deltoides (eastern cottonwood)
Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry) 
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix sp. (willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel bush)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)  
Forsythia sp. (golden bells)
Hibiscus syriacus (rose-of-Sharon)   ?
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry)
Rhamnus frangula (European buckthorn)
Rhus copallina (winged sumac)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elder)     *
Spiraea alba var. latifolia (meadowsweet)     *
Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush)     *
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Viburnum dentatum (smooth arrowwood viburnum)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Cuscuta sp. (dodder)
Dioscorea villosa (wild yamroot)
Humulus lupulus (common hops) 
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Smilax rotundifolia (common greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Broad-leaved Herbs:
Acalypha sp. (three-seeded mercury)
Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)     *
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)     *
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Anagallis arvensis (scarlet pimpernel)     *
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)    *
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)     *
Cardamine impatiens (narrow-leaved bittercress)
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed)     *
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed)     *
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)      *
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Daucus carota (wild carrot)     *
Desmodium perplexum (tick-trefoil) 
Desmodium sp. (tick-trefoil)
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink)     *
Epilobium coloratum (purple-leaved willow-herb)
Epipactis helleborine (helleborine orchid)      *soon
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane)     *
Euphorbia maculata (milk purslane)
Euphorbia nutans (eyebane spurge)
Euthamia graminifolia var. nuttallii (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Geranium sp. (geranium)
Geum canadense (white avens)     *
Hibiscus moscheutos (swamp rose-mallow)
Hypericum perforatum (common St. Johnswort)    *
Hypochaeris radicata (cat's ear)     *
Impatiens capensis (spotted touch-me-not)      *
Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)     *
Lilium superbum (Turk's-cap lily)
Lindernia dubia (false pimpernel)
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil)     *
Ludwigia alternifolia (seedbox) 
Lycopus americanus (cut-leaved water horehound)
Lycopus sp. (bugleweed)
Lysimachia terrestris (swamp candles)     *
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)     *
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Medicago lupulina (black medick)     *
Melilotus sp. (sweet clover)
Mollugo verticillata (carpetweed) 
Oenothera biennis (evening primrose)     *
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)     *
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)     *
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)     *
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)     *
Portulaca oleracea (common purslane) 
Potentilla norvegica (rough cinquefoil)     *
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)     *
Pycnanthemum virginianum (Virginia mountain mint)     *soon
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)    
Sagittaria latifolia (broad-leaved arrowhead)    
Sanguisorba canadensis (Canada burnet)
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet)     *
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)      *
Solidago canadensis var. scabra (tall goldenrod)  
Solidago gigantea (late goldenrod) 
Solidago rugosa (rough-stemmed goldenrod)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)      *
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadow-rue)    *
Trifolium repens (white clover)     *
Verbascum blattaria (moth mullein)     *
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)     *
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)     *
Vernonia noveboracensis (New York ironweed) 
Viola sp. (macloskeyi?) (northern white violet)    ?

Grasses:
Bromus inermis (smooth brome grass)
Bromus japonicus (Japanese brome grass)
Calamagrostis canadensis (bluejoint grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Echinochloa crus-galli (barnyard grass)
Hordeum jubatum (squirrel tail grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Setaria viridis (green foxtail grass)

Rushes:
Juncus effusus (common rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Sedges:
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)
Woodwardia areolata (netted chain fern)