By Cleve Bryan

BURLINGTON CITY, N.J. (CBS) — A 400-acre island in the middle of the Delaware won’t be turned into a “dirt farm” if Burlington City officials can stop a federal project.

On Thursday City lawyers issued a cease-and-desist letter to the State of New Jersey and the U-S Army Corps of Engineers to prevent the Corps from clear-cutting 40 acres to dump dredge spoils.

How College Recruiter Changed Philadelphia Girl’s Life In Just Minutes

Burlington Island, which once had a bustling amusement park and now hosts nesting bald eagles according to local naturists, is partly owned by Burlington City and partly owned by the State of New Jersey.

The city says the Corps never gave them direct notice about intentions to re-open a spoils site on the island last used in 1989.

They found out through a contractor who was interested in making a bid for the clear-cutting job.

“We’re trying very hard to bring back this very old colonial town and all of our development efforts are along the Delaware River. We believe that this will thwart our economic activity because they’ll see a dirt farm,” city business administrator Dave Ballard told Eyewitness News.

The contract was awarded on September 30 to Mohawk Valley Materials from Marcy, NY and under the request for proposals the work is supposed to begin within 15 days.

Christie Signs Legislation Raising NJ Gas Tax For Transportation Projects

While that means Mohawk could technically start cutting down trees this Saturday October 15 a spokesperson for the Corps says there is no scheduled timeline to begin the work.

Ballard says Friday morning the NJ Department of Environmental Protection responded to the letter and plans to hold a meeting with Burlington City officials on Monday.