Deer, white-tailed To Delaware River (New Jersey)

Deer, white-tailed. Odocoileus virginianus, with its brownish coat and white belly, throat, and tail, is perhaps the most recognizable wild mammal in New Jersey.

Most adult deer weigh between fifty and two hundred pounds and can grow up to 3.5 feet tall at the shoulder. Deer are known as an edge species because they frequent the areas where forests border meadows, farm fields, parks, gardens, and backyards. Deer are herbivores, with leaves, stems, fruits, seeds, and the buds of woody plants being an important part of their diet.

Though nearly eliminated from New Jersey by the early 1900s due to market hunting and habitat loss, white-tailed deer are now a common sight along roadsides and even in the backyards of many suburban residents. As of 2002, New Jersey’s deer herd was estimated at about two hundred thousand animals. While many New Jersey residents delight in viewing, photographing, and hunting deer, the increased number of deer have resulted in damage to agricultural crops, as well as commercial and residential landscaping, deer-vehicle collisions, and potential negative impacts on plant and animal species.

Deerfield. 16.8-square-mile township in Cumberland County. Deerfield was one of six original townships to form Cumberland County in 1748, when it divided from Salem County. The first residents had spilled over from nearby Fairfield Township twenty years earlier, referring to their new neighborhood as Deerfield Street. After many boundary alterations, Deerfield was incorporated in its present form in 1934. It was once an important marketing center focused around the potato crop; today about half the land use is residential, close to 25 percent is agricultural, and the rest is open land.


The villages of Carmel and Rosenhayn were planned communities originally founded in 1882 by a handful of immigrant Jewish families who were fleeing religious persecution and poor economic conditions in Eastern Europe. Financially supported by Hebrew agricultural and fraternal societies, the settlers engaged in farming and industrial efforts. Temple Beth Hillel, Carmel, established by the new Americans, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is believed to be the only Orthodox synagogue in South Jersey that continues to be regularly used throughout the year for religious worship.

Deerfield’s 2000 population of 2,927 was 78 percent white and 13 percent black. In 2000 the median household income was $45,365. For complete census figures, see chart, 131.

De Forest, Lee (b. Aug. 26, 1873; d. June 30, 1961). Inventor and businessman. Lee De Forest was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and graduated from Yale in 1899. His most important invention was the Audion or triode (three-element) vacuum tube, patented in 1906. The Audion, based on an earlier invention by John Ambrose Fleming, amplified incoming radio waves, allowing for more sensitive reception; this sensitivity played a major role in the ability of radio to transmit voice and music (as opposed to dots and dashes). In 1913, De Forest sold the rights to the Audion to AT&T for use in telephone transmission. Vacuum tubes based on De Forest’s Audion were important components of radio, television, and sound motion pictures technology until being largely superseded by the transistor in the 1950s.

De Forest defended, and brought, numerous patent violation suits. His most bitter legal battle was with Edwin Armstrong, inventor of FM radio, over priority in the matter of discovery of the regenerative properties of the Audion, the process of repeatedly feeding a signal through circuitry to strengthen it. De Forest eventually won in court, although scientific opinion sided with Armstrong. De Forest owned radio manufacturing companies including the De Forest Radio Company in Jersey City. He settled permanently in Hollywood, California, in 1930.

Deforestation. To the early European settlers in New Jersey, the forests presented both a resource and a hindrance. Trees, especially tall, straight white pines in some areas along the Delaware River, could be harvested and sold. Pines in the Pine Barrens and hardwoods in the rest of the state represented a valuable resource. Very early, the government established laws to prevent the cutting of trees, essentially to reserve them for the government itself.

In the succeeding centuries, almost all of the forests of New Jersey were cut down at least once, either to clear land for fields or for fuel. Where the land was planned for farming, the wood was mostly cut for lumber or burned locally for fuel. Ashes served as fertilizer by being either placed directly on the field or made into potash that was later sold for fertilizer. Clearing spread from the coasts inland along major rivers such as the Delaware and the Raritan, starting earliest along the Delaware River in the far south of the state, then spreading west from Camden, east from the vicinity of Newark, and to the northwest corner of the state. By the American Revolution, clearing had spread west into Morris County. In the first half of the nineteenth century the pace of clearing was rapid, so that by about 1850 the extent of farm fields was at a maximum. After that, for a variety of economic and climatic reasons, a slow process of field abandonment began, accelerating in the twentieth century. Most of the abandoned fields grew back to forest over fifty years or so.

The other widespread kind of deforestation in the state was repeated cutting to produce charcoal, especially to fuel iron furnaces and forges. In the northern part of the state iron was found as magnetite, usually in the hilly areas on rocky, unproductive soils, which were not put into agriculture after the first cutting for charcoal. In the Pine Barrens, bog iron fed furnaces that were fueled with charcoal produced by burning both hard and soft woods. In forests that have regenerated after abandonment of charcoaling, many round, flat areas that served as charcoal hearths, where the wood was burned to make charcoal, still remain.

In the second half of the twentieth century, most deforestation took place to make space for construction of roads and buildings. This kind of deforestation has affected the entire state. Between 1850 and 1950, forest area in the state increased, especially in the formerly agricultural counties. Larger contiguous patches of forestland developed, with associated fauna. However, the current trend is leading to renewed fragmentation of the forest except where it is protected as land held publicly or privately for conservation. This kind of deforestation has more permanent consequences than former cutting, since the soil surface is covered with impermeable materials such as macadam and concrete. It is projected to continue into the foreseeable future unless checked by regulations.

Delanco. 2.49-square-mile township in Burlington County, formed in 1866 from the former Beverly Township. Delanco is located on the east shore of Rancocas Creek at its confluence with the Delaware River. Hawk Island, located in the Delaware, is within the township’s borders. The town was originally known as Delranco. The first settlers included members of the Marter, Van Sciver, and Wilmerton families. Farming was the economic mainstay in the town’s early days, as a village area sprang up alongside the Rancocas Creek. A residential neighborhood developed adjacent to the town center, which leads into the Delaware riverbank. Numerous stately mansions were erected beside the Delaware by wealthy merchants around the turn of the nineteenth century. The remaining farmland, most of which also lies along the Rancocas Creek, is primarily earmarked for residential development. The area along Coopertown Road was the site of industries, and this industrial zone has been extended in recent years to include other light industry and several major trucking and warehouse facilities.

The 2000 population of 3,237 was 96 percent white. The median household income was $50,106. For complete census figures, see chart, 131.

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Delaware and Raritan Canal. The Delaware and Raritan Canal, a forty-four-mile-long waterway in use from 1834 to 1932, crossed the narrow waist of New Jersey, connecting Philadelphia and New York. To avoid the longer ocean voyage around Cape May, boats entered the canal near Bordentown on the Delaware River. Traveling north through seven locks, they were lifted fifty-eight feet to the summit in Trenton. Seven more locks lowered the vessels to tidewater at New Brunswick, on the Raritan River. The canal’s main water source was the Delaware River. Water was diverted at Bull’s Island, northwest of Stockton, into a twenty-two-mile-long canal feeder, which delivered water to the summit in Trenton.

In 1830 the Delaware and Raritan Canal Company was incorporated. In 1831, by an act of the legislature, the canal company and the Camden and Amboy Railroad were combined as the Joint Companies. Digging began in 1830 under chief engineer Canvass White. When White died shortly before the canal opened in 1834, Ashbel Welch, of Lambertville, replaced him. Thousands of workmen, both local and foreign-born, were employed to dig the canal, using picks, shovels, and horse-drawn scoops. Twenty years later, the banks were lined with stone, called riprap, to prevent erosion caused by the wake of steam canal boats and tugs.

A huge variety of craft used the waterway: steam and mule-drawn canal boats, sailboats, tugboats, and yachts. Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal was the main cargo shipped on the D & R, but it was also used to move such agricultural products as flour, cornmeal, grain, and feed. In 1866, its most prosperous year, the D & R carried more cargo than the more famous Erie Canal ever carried in any single year. As part of the Intracoastal Waterway, the D & R transported many other products between the Chesapeake Bay region and New England. The unique A-frame swing bridges allowed vessels of all heights to utilize the waterway.

In 1871 the Pennsylvania Railroad leased the Joint Companies, providing the railroad with vital waterfront access to New York Harbor. The railroad, manipulating rates in its favor and being more efficient, gradually took over more of the shipping, and the canal’s business declined. After 1893, the canal was never profitable. In the 1920s, as commercial traffic lessened, pleasure-boat traffic nearly doubled. Unfortunately, this was not sufficient to overcome the loss of freight traffic, and the canal closed at the end of 1932. A portion of the Trenton section was filled in in 1936 as a WPA project. In 1934 the state assumed control of the waterway and in 1944 began rehabilitating it to better serve as a water conduit. The New Jersey Water Supply Authority now oversees the canal as a water supply system and sells the water to public and private entities. The canal and its buildings were included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and the next year the legislature established the D & R Canal State Park.

Delaware and Raritan Canal

Delaware and Raritan Canal

State Park. In 1974, responding to pressure from concerned citizens, the state legislature created the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. Owned and operated by the Division of Parks and Forestry, Department of Environmental Protection, the seventy-mile linear park along the route of the old canal provides open space in which the citizens of central New Jersey can hike, jog, canoe, ride horses, cross-country ski, bike, or fish. The law creating the park also established the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission, which oversees development within the park and adjacent to it. The D & R Canal Commission is headquartered in the historic Prallsville Mill complex in Stockton, along the canal feeder.

Delaware Bay. Formed by the confluence of the Delaware River and the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaware Bay divides the states of New Jersey and Delaware. The bay extends 52 miles from Salem southeast to Cape May, with a maximum width of 35 miles and narrowing to 12 miles at its mouth at the ocean. Strategically located on the Eastern Seaboard, Delaware Bay is the second-busiest port in the nation. Its geography has helped to craft vast tidal salt marshes, coarse sand and sod beaches, and unique assemblages of fish and wildlife. The shoreline has subdued wave action, ideal for foraging shorebirds and wading birds and nesting diamondback terrapins. Each spring the bay shore hosts the second-largest shorebird concentration in the nation, supported by the largest concentration of spawning horseshoe crabs in the world. The adjacent vast tidal salt marshes contain a mix of grasses: smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterni-flora), regularly flooded by tides, and salt hay (Spartina patens), covered by tides once or twice a month, with monocultures of Phrag-mites in some areas. The marshes include mudflats, tidal creeks, and grassy marsh spotted with small woody islands, and are a significant nursery area for newly spawned fish. The vegetation reflects a history of agriculture: many marshes were impounded in the mid-1900s, creating ground suitable for growing salt hay, used commercially as a packing material. Since 1985 old impoundments have broken down, restoring tidal flow. The marshes also retain the pattern of grid-ditching built in the mid-i900s to reduce the wetland area that bred mosquitoes; more recent mosquito control modifies marshes using methods that create a more natural appearance and maintain ecological values. The major tributaries on the New Jersey shore include the Maurice and Cohansey rivers, whose lower extents fluctuate with the tide, but include a rich diversity of brackish and freshwater marshes and forest.

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Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad. The Morris and Essex Railroad began operation in 1837 between Morristown and Newark. By i860 it reached westward to Phillipsburg, and by 1867, eastward to Hoboken. In 1869 it was leased by the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western, a combination of short lines serving the anthracite coal district of northeastern Pennsylvania. The Lackawanna began the development of extensive port facilities at Hoboken. In 1882 it built a new line from Binghamton, New York, to Buffalo, thus positioning itself for both anthracite and other traffic from the Great Lakes to the sea. After i899 it began a radical reengineering of its lines. Of particular interest on the New Jersey portions of the railroad was the Slateford Cutoff for high-speed, grade-free operation in western New Jersey marked by such engineering masterpieces as the Paulins Kill Viaduct at Hainesburg and the Pequest Fill west of Andover. In i907 the new Hoboken Terminal replaced an older terminal destroyed by fire in 1905. In this era, the railroad gained national fame through its "Phoebe Snow” advertising campaign about a mythical traveler "whose gown stays white, from morn to night, upon the Road of Anthracite.” It was in these years that Lackawanna built new stations in the suburbs west of Newark and began fast, frequent suburban service that for the first time made it both feasible and attractive to work in Manhattan and live in the New Jersey Highlands. Private investment in the commuter service peaked with the electrification of the lines from Hoboken to Dover in i930.

After World War II, anthracite coal was replaced by more convenient fuels, and traffic from the Great Lakes to the sea was siphoned off by the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Commercial development in the suburbs turned the commuter service into a money-losing, rush-hour-only operation. In i960 it merged with a longtime rival, the Erie Railroad, to form the Erie Lackawanna. Erie Lackawanna ultimately failed and was folded into the federally sponsored Conrail in i976. Most lines west of Binghamton and the Slateford Cutoff in New Jersey were abandoned. What remained of Lackawanna’s freight operations in New Jersey were bought by Norfolk Southern in i998. The suburban commuter routes became the core of New Jersey Transit, created in 1982.

Delaware River and Bay Authority. The Delaware River and Bay Authority is a bistate transportation agency created by Delaware and New Jersey in 1962. In 1990.

Delaware River and Bay Authority. The Delaware River and Bay Authority is a bistate transportation agency created by Delaware and New Jersey in 1962. In 1990.

Delaware River. The Delaware River forms the western boundary of New Jersey— the state’s "other coast.” It has a watershed of i3,539 square miles, shared among Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. About 7.3 million people live in the river’s drainage area.

The Delaware River begins near Hancock, New York, with the joining of its East and West branches. The river flows 33i miles to the Atlantic Ocean via Delaware Bay. At Trenton, 134 miles from the ocean, the river becomes tidal. Some of the 2i6 tributaries entering the Delaware River include the Pequest, Musconetcong, Cooper, and Maurice rivers in New Jersey.

Henry Hudson discovered the Delaware River in 1610 while sailing for the Dutch. A year later, Samuel Argall claimed the river for England and named what is now Cape Henlopen for Virginia’s governor, Lord De La Warre. After the English wrested control of the region from the Dutch in i664, this name was applied to the whole river. The Delaware River region was important in both the American Revolution and the U.S. industrial revolution. Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River with his army in i776 is one of the most famous events in American history. Beginning in the mid-eighteenth century, industrial development along the tidal Delaware estuary (Trenton-Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington) made the region one of the largest urban-industrial complexes in the world. It remains the second largest concentration of petrochemical plants in the United States. Seventy percent of oil delivered to the East Coast goes to Delaware River refineries.

Although it represents only 0.4 percent of the U.S. land area, the Delaware River watershed provides water to almost i0 percent of the country’s population. U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 1931 and 1954 allow New York City and central New Jersey to divert water out of the basin. The Delaware, thus, provides water to almost i5 million people and the economy they represent.

The Delaware is more than work, however. Recreational use is dramatic. Over two dozen canoe liveries, three dozen fishing guide services, and two dozen marinas are among the businesses servicing Delaware River recreation. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is the eighth-busiest unit in the entire National Park system. Bird-watching is a rapidly growing activity, with 250 bird species migrating along the Delaware River each spring and fall.

In spite of intense human use, the Delaware River is one of the last undammed major U.S. rivers, and one of the most scenic. Of the 200-mile nontidal Delaware, i75 miles have been placed in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The Delaware is not free-flowing, however. During times of low flow, reservoirs owned by New York City and various power companies contribute the majority of the water seen at Trenton and elsewhere.

The huge urban, industrial, and recreational demands on the Delaware have meant facing and overcoming major water supply and water pollution problems. These programs have been highly successful on the Delaware because of the cooperation among various agencies, between states, and the activism of its citizenry.

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