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Planting Around Nervine Pond

Two hundred and fifty shrubs and 15 trees were planted at Nervine Park on May 23, 2018 as part of a project to restore natural vegetation around the pond and improve water quality.  
The native trees and shrubs will filter out contaminants in stormwater runoff, prevent bank erosion, and provide shade along the edge of the pond to promote healthy water temperatures.
The pond was created by a dam on the Mine Brook, a major tributary of the North Branch of the Raritan River. Local watershed watchdog Raritan Headwaters recently found water quality in the Mine Brook to be “impaired” at its confluence with the North Branch in Far Hills.
The Borough of Bernardsville partnered with Raritan Headwaters to apply for the grant from The Nature Conservancy’s Roots for Rivers Program to purchase the trees and shrubs. 
The planting was completed with the help of 21 volunteers from the Bernards High School Green Team (teacher advisor: Christine Albanese- DeMair), the Bernardsville Middle School, the Bernardsville Environmental Commission, and members of the public. Mayor Kevin Sooy, who was among the volunteers, plans to honor all the student volunteers at an upcoming Borough Council Meeting.  Raritan Headwaters generously donated staff time and equipment for the project. 
Borough Environmental Commission members Kristi MacDonald and Kerry Haselton, provided training and supervision during the tree planting. Bernardsville’s Facilities Manager, Doug Walker, was a major partner in the project and the Facilities and Grounds Maintenance crew, played a major role in transporting trees and digging holes.
The native species planted include a variety of shrubby dogwoods, winterberry holly, viburnums, chokeberry and trees such as redbud, river birch, ironwood, and shadbush.  Their flowers and berries will provide food for pollinators and birds.  As the shrubs mature and grow, they will deter Canada geese from congregating in high densities around the pond, thus reducing the amount of goose waste on the walkways and lawn areas. 
The plantings will be maintained by the Borough of Bernardsville and volunteers. Care will include control of invasive Japanese knotweed, protection of trees from deer browsing and inadvertent damage from mowing, and follow-up watering while trees and shrubs become established.  The project is part of a larger plan to make the park more attractive to residents, which includes expanding the walkway to encircle the pond and installing a playground.
The North and South Branch region provides drinking water to 1.5 million people downstream in more urban areas of New Jersey. To learn more about the watershed and its protection visit