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Richard P. Kane Natural Area (Carlstadt, South Hackensack)

This 587-acre tract of land, formerly known as the Empire Tract, is owned by the Meadowlands Conservation Trust, which preserves land as habitat for birds and wildlife. 

The Meadowlands Conservation Trust acquired the property in March 2005 and renamed it the Richard P. Kane Natural Area in September of 2005 after the first chairman of the MCT board and retired vice president of NJ Audubon Society, Rich Kane. 

The Richard P. Kane Natural tract contains one of the largest remaining expanses of wetlands in the Meadowlands.  While the tract is predominately wetlands, there are several acres of uplands which support a variety of breeding and non-breeding birds, some of which are threatened or endangered.

Originally, the Empire Tract consisted of 1,012 acres of wetland habitat.  All that remains today, however, is 587 acres located in the towns of Carlstadt, and South Hackensack.  In 1996, Mills Corporation proposed to develop 206 of these acres into Meadowlands Mills, a commercial project consisting of a mall, hotel, and office space.  The remaining acres were to be turned into a storm-water retention basin.  As news of this possible development became known, government officials, environmental activists, and concerned citizens voiced their disapproval of the project by testifying at public hearings, signing petitions, and writing letters of protest. As part of Mills shift to another site proposal and wetlands mitigation deal, Mills Corporation offered the Empire Tract to the state to be preserved in perpetuity.  The Meadowlands Conservation Trust (MCT), which is a state agency in but not part of the NJMC, took ownership.  These properties shall be permanently preserved and managed in their natural state for the purposes of conserving and enhancing natural resources, protecting elements of natural diversity, open space, or providing public outdoor passive recreational opportunities. On March 25, 2005 the Meadowlands Conservation Trust took full title and ownership of the Empire Tract.  Plans for the site include extensive studies to determine the best management, wildlife and hydrology restoration methods, and passive recreation.

These are some of the creatures that have been seen or inhabit the Kane Tract:

The clam shrimp, a rare crustacean that has not been reported previously in New Jersey, occurs in the Kane Natural Area. This is one of only two clam shrimp species occurring east of the Mississippi River, and has been found at only ten sites in its entire range in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. This species require further study and conservation attention.

Federally listed endangered
Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Federal species of concern
Northern diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys t. terrapin)
Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

State-listed endangered
Pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
Northern harrier (Circus cyaneus)
Least tern (Sterna antillarum)
Black skimmer (Rhynchops niger)
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus)

State-listed threatened
Great blue heron (Ardea herodias)
Yellow-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax violaceus)
Long-eared owl (Asio otus)
Savannah sparrow (Passerculcus sandwichensis)

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