Verona Environmental Resource Inventory
The Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI) Update, finalized in December 2018, is based on available data from federal and state resources, as well as municipal resources, including the 1999 Natural Resources Inventory prepared for Verona. Documentation of the natural resource base – the geology, hydrology, ecology, and wildlife – conveys the scope and condition of the resources upon which the Township relies. Extensive mapping and tables detailing the Township’s environmental resource base are included within the ERI Update. Sections include information on geology, topography, slopes, hydrology and water resources, soils, flooding, wetlands, wildlife habitat, historic resources, air, and climate change. The ERI Update will assist the community as it makes decisions regarding future planning and development.
The preparation of an updated Environmental Resource Inventory will help meet the Township’s goal of being a sustainable community. The Verona Environmental Commission will add new material to the ERI as it becomes available. Knowledge of the natural resources will allow Verona Township’s officials and citizens to make informed decisions as they strive to preserve and promote the character of the Township and to create a sustainable community within its landscape.
This Essex County owned treasure is of the greatest features of our Township. Verona Park is comprised of 54 acres and was designed by the Olmstead Brothers, renowned architects of N.Y.C.’s Central Park. Verona Park has its own Verona Park Conservancy that helps to keep the park clean, safe and beautifully adorned with perennials gardens.
Founded in 2015, the Verona-owned Grove Historic Park and Nature Preserve was once the site of the Personette Family Home. They lived on the property for about 100 years until the village doctor, Dr. Whitehorne, moved onto the site and built a grand home. The home was lost to a fire many years ago and the property sat dormant until the Township acquired the site in the 1960’s. It was thought that the property should be used for a fire department building at that time. But as the years passed the property’s wetlands became an obstacle to development.
Former VEC Chair Gloria Machnowski spearheaded the idea of forming a pocket park and the Township agreed. Mrs. Machnowski’s networking abilities brought the Verona Junior Woman’s Club and the Verona Historic Society into the picture, each donating funds for the creation of the park. With support from DPW, volunteers and Commission members and our former Mayor Jack McEvoy, a slate walkway and signage was installed to form a pathway into the woods.
VEC members Jessica Pearson and Sarah O’Farrell added a perennial garden in 2019 to grace the frontage of the site for all residents, birds and bees to enjoy.
Winding Essex County trails, diversity of plant and animal species and peace can be found right here in Verona! Conservation and restoration of this 284-acre community treasure are in the works.
The Hilltop Conservancy, in conjunction with Essex County, which oversees the maintenance of the Hilltop is in the process of a mass reforestation operation. They are removing invasive species and replanting native species trees to restore this lush natural habitat.
Peckman Park is comprised of 11.62 acres and was acquired by the Township in 2020. Located at the end of Commerce Court and along Verona’s northeast portion of the Peckman River, the park is generally wooded, contains multiple steeply sloped areas and two notable wetland areas; one located at the upper eastern portion near the Cedar Grove border and the other located at the western most portion of the site near the Peckman River. The VEC has conducted multiple clean up events at Peckman Park, inviting the public to enjoy one of Verona’s newer natural parklands.
Mount Prospect Park
Mount Prospect Park is comprised of 14.28 acres and was also acquired by the Township in 2020. This park is located at the southeast portion of the Township on the West Orange border, abutting Eagle Rock Reservation. There are several trailways and footpaths throughout this natural area that lead to a set of marked trailways maintained by Essex County. The park contains many natural waterways, wetlands and frog ponds, thousands of trees and natural understory growth which support a wide diversity of amphibian, bird, and mammal species.
Trails and Waterways
It should be noted that Wetland areas in Verona have noticeably expanded due to ever-expanding impervious surfaces and more frequent storm activity. Wetlands in Verona exist on many private properties as well as at Grove Park, Verona Park, on properties lining to the banks of the Peckman River, and on properties along the tributaries that feed into the Verona Lake and the Peckman River.
The Peckman River in Verona is part of the important Passaic River watershed. It originates in West Orange and flows northeasterly through Verona, Cedar Grove, Little Falls to its confluence with the Passaic River.
The VEC holds an annual Peckman River cleanup event each June on National Trails Day.
The Peckman Trail
The Peckman Trail (6 acres) was formed behind FN Brown Elementary School along the Peckman River well over 50 years ago. In 2014 the VEC began a yearly cleanup event along these trails, first by cutting brush back and stabilizing the existing trails and then by clearing the area of refuse. Since then, volunteers and community members have been collecting garbage, recyclables and even machinery from the banks of the river to help keep our waterways and trails safe and healthy for wildlife and for people. The VEC has also hung bat houses and bird houses as well as planted numerous native trees throughout the trails.
West Essex Trail
This Essex County trail, the former rail bed of the Caldwell Branch on the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, extends for about 3 miles from Fairview Avenue just past Verona High School to Little Falls.
The VEC has conducted 4 separate cleanup events on the trail and plans to continue these efforts.
If you haven’t already walked along this shaded wide trail, plan on seeing bicyclists, dog walkers as well as avid runners.
The Verona Shade Tree Commission assists the township and DPW with the care of our public trees.
In addition to the trees that are planted street side on all Verona roadways, the township has recognized the older, more mature trees in the community by beginning the Treasured Trees Program. Each tree in the program has a small plaque acknowledging its inclusion in the program. If you think a tree should be nominated as a treasured tree, contact us and let us know.
Verona’s drinking water comes from both natural wells and from reservoirs purchased from the Passaic Valley Water Commission. Verona tests their water quality daily and publishes an annual report that interprets our compliance with the State laws. There are occasions when naturally occurring minerals or organic chemicals exceed their allowable limits. In these cases, the water department acts immediately to mitigate.
For current and past drinking water reports: https://www.veronanj.org/water-quality-reports
NJ drinking water regulations may be found under NJAC 7:10: https://www.nj.gov/dep/standards/njac7_10.pdf