processes, beginning with natural hydrological conditions and including restoration of communities of organisms and their interactions. An increase in the presence of a wildlife species is generally a promising indication that ecological health is returning but is insufficient cause for proclaiming that restoration has occurred.

The HMDC has in the past sanctioned the development of substantial wetland acreage rather than protecting all wetlands. The commission thereby set a precedent of trading wetland development for wetland enhancement, with a resulting net loss of wetland acreage in a quest for increased wetland functional values. There are alternatives to that strategy. The commission might instead gradually begin to invest some of its own not inconsiderable revenues directly in wetland restoration year by year (and solicit federal, state, local, and private funds to augment its contribution), without choosing to sacrifice additional wetland acreage to subsidize wetland improvement.

In the future, too, the commission may wish to consider developing a systematic mitigation or ecological restoration program for the Meadowlands in which individual mitigations are conducted as part of a broader overall restoration strategy.


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Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission (HMDC). 1984. Wetland Bio-Zones of the Hackensack Meadowlands: An Inventory. Lyndhurst, N.J. June.

Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission. 1989a. Annual Report. Lyndhurst, N.J.

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