A dedication ceremony was recently conducted for the Liberty Marsh Restoration Project on Oil City Road which is nestled along the banks of the Wallkill River and straddling the New Jersey-New York border. The Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, of which the marsh is a part, occupies parts of Vernon and Wantage. The Liberty Marsh Restoration Project is a cooperative effort undertaken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited, which says it is the world’s largest wetland and waterfowl conservation organization, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the North American Wetland Conservation Council. “I am extremely pleased that this partnership project has come so far and now we have better habitats for waterfowl and other migrating birds,” said Ed Henry, the refuge manager. The 350 acres of prime wildlife habitat wer previously a sod farm, but five miles of new dykes and 11 water control structures were constructed to allow maximum flexibility to manage the site for wetland-dependent wildlife. “During early spring and fall, migrating waterfowl including black ducks, mallards, green winged teal, wood ducks and ring-necked ducks will be treated to a buffet of wetland foods as well as a permanent refuge area for staging birds,” said Craig Kessler, Manager of Conservation Programs for Ducks Unlimited. This project also provides opportunities for public use, as the Liberty Loop Trail running along the perimeter dikes shares much of its length with the famous 2,150-mile Appalachian Trail, giving visitors improved opportunities for wildlife observation, nature photography and environmental education. For more information contact the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge headquarters located on Route 565 in Vernon or call 973-702-7266.