New Jersey Meadowlands
New Jersey Meadowlands, also known as the Hackensack Meadowlands after the primary river flowing through it, is a general name for the large ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....
of wetlands in northeast New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...
in the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
. The Meadowlands are known for being the site of large landfills and decades of environmental abuse. The Meadowlands stretch mainly along the terminus of the Hackensack
The Hackensack River is a river, approximately 45 miles long, in the U.S. states of New York and New Jersey, emptying into Newark Bay, a back chamber of New York Harbor. The watershed of the river includes part of the suburban area outside New York City just west of the lower Hudson River,...
and Passaic River
The Passaic River is a mature surface river, approximately 80 mi long, in northern New Jersey in the United States. The river in its upper course flows in a highly circuitous route, meandering through the swamp lowlands between the ridge hills of rural and suburban northern New Jersey,...
s as they flow into Newark Bay
Newark Bay is a tidal bay at the confluence of the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers in northeastern New Jersey. It is home to the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, the largest container shipping facility in Port of New York and New Jersey, 3rd largest and one of busiest in the United States...
; tributaries of the Hackensack include Sawmill Creek, Berrys Creek
Berrys Creek is a tributary of the Hackensack River in the New Jersey Meadowlands in Bergen County, New Jersey.-Geography:...
, and Overpeck Creek
Overpeck Creek is a tributary of the Hackensack River, approximately 8 miles long, in Bergen County in northern New Jersey in the United States. The upper creek flows through suburban communities west of New York City...
. The Meadowlands consist of roughly 8,400 acres (34 km²) of open, undeveloped space in addition to developed areas that previously were part of the natural wetlands. The area includes portions of Kearny
Kearny, New Jersey
Kearny is a town in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. It was named after Civil War general Philip Kearny. As of the United States 2010 Census, the town population was 40,684. The town is a suburb of the nearby city of Newark....
, Jersey City
Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City is the seat of Hudson County, New Jersey, United States.Part of the New York metropolitan area, Jersey City lies between the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay across from Lower Manhattan and the Hackensack River and Newark Bay...
, North Arlington
North Arlington, New Jersey
North Arlington is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 15,392...
Secaucus, New Jersey
Secaucus is a town in Hudson County, New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town population was 16,264. Located within the New Jersey Meadowlands, it is the most suburban of the county's municipalities, though large parts of the town are dedicated to light manufacturing, retail, and...
Lyndhurst, New Jersey
Lyndhurst is a township in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township population was 20,554.Lyndhurst was originally formed as Union Township on February 19, 1852 from portions of Harrison Township...
Rutherford, New Jersey
Rutherford is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 18,061. It is an inner-ring suburb of New York City, located west of Midtown Manhattan....
, East Rutherford
East Rutherford, New Jersey
East Rutherford is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 8,913. It is an inner-ring suburb of New York City, located west of Midtown Manhattan....
Carlstadt, New Jersey
Carlstadt is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 6,127.Carlstadt was originally formed as a village by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 12, 1860, within Lodi Township. It was named after Dr...
, North Bergen
North Bergen, New Jersey
North Bergen is a township in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2010 Census, the township had a total population of 60,773. Originally founded in 1843, the town was much diminished in territory by a series of secessions. Situated on the Hudson Palisades, it is one...
Moonachie, New Jersey
Moonachie is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, in the Hackensack River watershed. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 2,708....
Ridgefield, New Jersey
There were 4,020 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.7% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 23.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone...
, and Little Ferry
Little Ferry, New Jersey
Little Ferry is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 census, the borough population was 10,626.-Geography:Little Ferry is located at ....
Human impactBefore European settlement, the area consisted of several diverse eco-systems based on fresh-, brackish-, and saltwater environments. Large areas were covered by forests. Considered by residents of the area through the centuries as "wastelands," the Meadowlands were systematically subject to various kinds of human intervention. The four major categories are:
- Extraction of natural resources (including fish and game). Farmers also harvested salt hay for feed. Over time, the resources were either depleted or contaminated by pollution.
- Alteration of water flow
- Reclamation, land making, and development. In addition to landfill from garbage, landmass generated from dredging was also used to create new land.
- Pollution by sewage, refuse, and hazardous waste: various types of waste have been dumped legally and illegally in the Meadowlands. During World War IIWorld War IIWorld War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
, refuse generated by the military during the war was dumped in the Meadowlands, including rubble from LondonLondonLondon is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...
created by the Battle of BritainBattle of BritainThe Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...
used as ballastSailing ballastBallast is used in sailboats to provide moment to resist the lateral forces on the sail. Insufficiently ballasted boats will tend to tip, or heel, excessively in high winds. Too much heel may result in the boat capsizing. If a sailing vessel should need to voyage without cargo then ballast of...
in returning ships. After the war, the Meadowlands continued to be used for civilian waste disposal, as the marshes were seen simply as wastelands that were not good for anything else. The opening of the New Jersey TurnpikeNew Jersey TurnpikeThe New Jersey Turnpike is a toll road in New Jersey, maintained by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. According to the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, the Turnpike is the nation's sixth-busiest toll road and is among one of the most heavily traveled highways in the United...
in January 1952 only amplified the continuing environmental decline of the Meadowlands, as both spurs of the Turnpike travel through the region from the Passaic RiverPassaic RiverThe Passaic River is a mature surface river, approximately 80 mi long, in northern New Jersey in the United States. The river in its upper course flows in a highly circuitous route, meandering through the swamp lowlands between the ridge hills of rural and suburban northern New Jersey,...
to just past North Bergen.
The Meadowlands Sports Complex
Meadowlands Sports Complex
The MetLife Sports Complex is a sports and entertainment facility located in East Rutherford, Bergen County, New Jersey, United States, owned and operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority...
with stadia and a race track is also in the Meadowlands.
New Jersey Meadowlands CommissionThe location of the New Jersey Meadowlands near the New York metropolitan area
New York metropolitan area
The New York metropolitan area, also known as Greater New York, or the Tri-State area, is the region that composes of New York City and the surrounding region...
and its outgrowth into New Jersey makes conservation of the vast wetland a difficult proposition. In spite of this, the New Jersey Legislature
New Jersey Legislature
The New Jersey Legislature is the legislative branch of the government of the U.S. state of New Jersey. In its current form, as defined by the New Jersey Constitution of 1947, the Legislature consists of two houses: the General Assembly and the Senate...
, led by Richard W. DeKorte
Richard W. DeKorte
Richard W. DeKorte was a New Jersey Republican member of the New Jersey General Assembly.Born in Paterson, New Jersey to John I. and Henrietta DeKorte, Richard W. DeKorte was educated at Amherst College and the University of Chicago Law School. DeKorte specialized in Estate Law at the Paterson law...
, created the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission (since renamed New Jersey Meadowlands Commission
New Jersey Meadowlands Commission
The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission is a regional zoning, planning and regulatory agency established by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature in 1969...
) in 1968 to attempt to address both economic and environmental issues concerning the wetland region. Even under grave environmental circumstances, the Meadowlands contain many species of fish, crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...
s, and mollusks and is considered to be an important bird habitat.
Money from the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....
has been allocated to protect and preserve the Meadowlands and establish organizations to research the unique animals and their interaction with the ecosystem. The ecosystem is a fragile environment that waterfowl and other species of animals need. Richard W. DeKorte Park in the Meadowlands is known for bird watching, particularly for migratory waterfowl.
- Hackensack Riverkeeper
- New Jersey Meadowlands Commission website
- New Jersey Meadowlands Commission Master Plan
- Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Meadowlands Liberty Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Meadowlands Environment Center
- New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority website
- Wild New Jersey - "The Fishes Swim Through it? Once Again"
- New Jersey Meadowlands at National Geographic
- Photos of Mill Creek Marsh, Meadowlands Preserve
- Photo Gallery
- I Sing the Meadowlands