The Meadowlands Conservation Trust (MCT) took ownership of this 587-acre site in 2005. Much of the site, then known as the Empire Tract, was slated for commercial development. The Mills Corporation, the site’s former owner, transferred full title and ownership of the land to the MCT as part of a wetland mitigation agreement.
On Sept. 17, 2005, the Empire Tract was officially renamed the Richard P. Kane Natural Area in honor of Mr. Kane, a former Vice President of Conservation and Stewardship for the New Jersey Audubon Society and a tireless advocate for Meadowlands preservation.
As part of the preservation agreement, a 235-acre portion of the Kane Tract wetlands were preserved, with the remainder of the tract available to be enhanced into a wetland mitigation bank that could be used only for unavoidable wetland impacts due to transportation projects occurring within the Meadowlands District watershed.
In January 2009, the MCT leased a 237-acre portion of the Kane tract to Earthmark NJ Kane Mitigation, LLC. During 2009 and 2010, Earthmark developed plans for and obtained State and Federal wetland permits for a 19.85-acre freshwater wooded wetland mitigation site in the northeastern portion of the Kane tract, and a 217-acre tidal wetland mitigation bank between Moonachie Creek and the Hackensack River.
The goal of the freshwater mitigation site was to enhance a 19.85-acre portion of the wetlands dominated by the invasive Common Reed (Phragmites) to provide a seasonally saturated forested wetland bordered by a riparian forest along Losen Slote Creek and enhance an existing early successional forest stand.
This work was done for the purpose of providing effective, off-site compensatory wetland mitigation for authorized wetland impacts by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The primary wetland system planned for the 217-acre mitigation bank was a tidal emergent marsh, mudflat and open-water ecosystem dominated by native salt marsh cordgrass (Spartina alerniflora). These wetlands provide habitat for a wide variety of wetland-dependent and terrestrial wildlife species.
Construction and planting at the freshwater mitigation site was completed in October 2010. Construction and planting at the 217-acre tidal mitigation bank was completed in September 2012.