This 209-acre marshland was purchased by the former NJMC for preservation in 1996 from Harts Mountain Industries. A development of 2,750 town homes had been proposed for a portion of the site and it was choked by a dense monoculture of the invasive form of the Common Read (Phragmites), with very little open water and reduced tidal flow. In its former condition, there was little habitat diversity.
During 1985 and 1986, Hartz Mountain performed a wetland enhancement on an approximately 63-acre portion of the Mill Creek Marsh in an area known as the Western Brackish Marsh. The Western Brackish Marsh is bounded on the north and south by the Cromakill and Mill creeks, to the east by the NJ Turnpike Eastern Spur, and to the west by the Hackensack River. In 1998 and 1999, the NJMC performed wetlands enhancement activities on the remaining approximately 140-acre portion of the site, including the re-establishment of tidal flows, creation of open water impoundments, grading to create low marsh and upland areas, and planting of native species to attract a diversity of aquatic life and birds.
Wetland enhancement at Mill Creek included grading of the marsh surface by creating additional meanders and tidal channels and the excavation of shallow pools to provide open water habitats. The result was low marsh habitat flushed daily by tides; lowland scrub-shrub passerine habitats; creation of dabbling duck, shorebird, and wading bird breeding, wintering and migratory habitats; greater fishery access; and some degree of mosquito control.
Mill Creek Marsh today is an important area for breeding wildlife, migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, and is used by recreational paddlers.
The tide will affect what you see at Mill Creek Marsh. At high tide, the marsh shoreline is covered by six feet of water; at low tide wide mudflats are exposed. Channel width and depths will vary depending on tidal flow. If the tide is low, the channel will be narrow. If the tide is high, the channel will be broad. At mid-to-high tide, additional channels are available for exploration.