Conserve Wildlife Blog

September 25th, 2020

CWF In The News: Habitat Restoration Project in Barnegat Light a Collaborative Success

by Ethan Gilardi

Piping plover chick foraging along wrack line in Barnegat Light.

CWF Biologist Todd Pover and the Barnegat Light Habitat Restoration Project are back in the news with a wonderful write-up by Juliet Kaszas-Hoch on TheSandpaper.net.

With major construction wrapping in late-2019, we’re now seeing the project’s positive impact on the local piping plover population. Only time will tell just how successful the restoration truly is, but until then we will continue to chart it’s progress and do what we can to make life better for New Jersey’s beach nesters.

Read an except of article here and remember to check out the video update on the project linked below!


With fall on its way, most piping plovers and other migratory coastal birds have headed south, where they will remain for the duration of the winter months. While they’re gone, other species will happily utilize the new pond feature and habitat site along the inlet in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park created specifically to benefit beach-nesting birds such as plovers.

The Barnegat Light Habitat Restoration Project is a collaborative effort led by Todd Pover, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey senior wildlife biologist, and Brooke Maslo, Rutgers University assistant professor of ecology, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife.

As Pover explained in a recent blog post on conservewildlifenj.org, the goal of the project, begun two years ago, was to enhance breeding habitat near Long Beach Island’s north-end inlet “by clearing out the vegetation and re-grading the sand, because this once important breeding site had become overgrown and was no longer suitable for piping plovers to nest. Plans also called for building a shallow pond to create productive foraging habitat for chicks (to) be protected from human disturbance.”

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September 24th, 2020

Help Us Continue the Inspiring Recovery of New Jersey’s Bald Eagles: The first $5,000 donated will be matched dollar for dollar!

by Larissa Smith, CWF Biologist

Photo by Barb McKee

None of us could have predicted what would happen in 2020, and that’s certainly true for New Jersey’s bald eagles.

When our eagle volunteers joined me at our kick-off training in February, we prepared as usual to monitor known nests and educate landowners and the public about the importance of minimizing disturbance to our breeding pairs.

We never imagined how important eagles would become to so many people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dozens of you shared the wonder you felt in seeing eagles fly overhead, some for the first time. Eagles became a sign of strength and resilience for those staying at home, as well as those venturing out to do essential work.

And New Jersey’s eagle population soared – both literally and figuratively – breaking records with more than 200 active nests (with eggs) and 300 young fledged – up from just one pair in the early 1980’s.

We can thank our devoted eagle volunteers for this year’s success, as well as the individual, foundation, and corporate supporters who came through with funding to support our tireless efforts.

Unfortunately, not everyone who gave in the past, or who expected to give this year, donated as planned. And we recently learned that we’re losing our largest project funder for the coming season.

That is why I’m asking you to donate today to help CWF raise $10,000 to help cover the shortfall. Two generous donors have each put up a $2,500 match, which means that the first $5,000 donated will be matched dollar for dollar.

While having the best season on record is exciting news for all of us, important work remains to be done. Eagles still face serious threats of habitat loss and disturbance. The increasing population will require an even larger team of trained volunteers to observe nesting behavior and determine egg laying, hatching, and fledging dates. It also means an increase in the number of injured eagles which will need help. All of this takes time and resources.

For my part, I’m happiest when I’m outside working with bald eagles as I have for 20 years. After all, I’m a biologist, not a fundraiser! But in this case, I’m reaching out to ask for your support for the Eagle Project. We have overcome financial challenges in the past with the help of people like you. Whether you have always supported this project, or have newfound appreciation for these majestic raptors, please help us to ensure that this incredible success story continues to inspire all of us!

Thank you and stay safe.


Learn more about CWF’s Bald Eagle Project here.

Learn more about New Jersey EagleTrax here.

Watch the CWF/Duke Farms Eagle Cam here.

September 18th, 2020

CWF In The News: Conserve Wildlife Foundation Reports Turtle Garden Success

by Ethan Gilardi

A rehabilitated adult female northern diamondback terrapin that was released in late 2009 after being injured by a motor vehicle along Great Bay Blvd. © Ben Wurst

Northern Diamondback Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) are a native species of New Jersey turtle, inhabiting the brackish waters of the state’s coastal salt marshes and estuaries. The survival of the species depends on the ability of female turtles to access safe nesting habitat every summer, a struggle for the species these days with roadways disconnecting large swaths of their habitat. To help give females a better chance of successfully reproducing, CWF partnered with New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife last year to create a half-acre “turtle garden” at a former marina within the Great Bay Wildlife Management Area.

CWF Habitat Manager Ben Wurst took Pat Johnson of TheSandpaper.net to the site recently to survey the success of this new turtle garden and walk through what it takes to save a species like the diamondback terrapin.

Check out the except below!


It’s diamondback terrapin hatching season in the newest turtle garden established by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey in the Great Bay Wildlife Management Area. Project Manager Ben Wurst has been monitoring the 50 or so nests that were created this spring to protect them from predators so the hatchlings could have a fighting chance of survival.

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September 9th, 2020

Eagle Trax Update

by: CWF biologist, Larissa Smith

CWF along with the NJ ENSP are using NJ Eagle Trax to track, “Duke” a year and a half old eagle who was outfitted with a transmitter on May 25th 2019.

May 25, 2019. Duke with transmitter @Kathy Clark

The last update I wrote was on March 31st. and at that time Duke had headed up to his old nest site at Duke Farms and then flew back south to the Susquehanna. In April he ranged along the Susquehanna in Southern PA and the Chesapeake region in MD, he did make a quick trip up into PA and back to MD. Duke spent all of May along the Susquehanna River near the Cononwingo Dam.

On June 1st he made another big trip up to Duke Farms and his old nest site. On June 9th he started heading back south and spent the rest of the month along the Susquehanna River. He spent all of July and August along the southern section of the Susquehanna River.

The Conowingo Dam, just south of the PA/MD state line in Darlington MD, is a location that Duke has visited several times over the last few months. This is an area where eagles congregate during fall migration and the winter. It is a popular eagle viewing spot, so perhaps someone will be able to get a photo of Duke. He still has a few years left before he’ll set up his own territory and find a mate.

September 7th, 2020

Senate Passes Bateman License Plate Bill to Protect Pollinators

by Ethan Gilardi

Double pollination! Image by Krzysztof Niewolny from Pixabay.

New Jersey’s State Senate passed legislation this past August authorizing the creation of “Protect Pollinator” license plates with the aim of helping to protect New Jersey’s native pollinators.

Created by Kip Bateman (R) and co-sponsored by Linda Greenstein (D), the bill will require the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to create “Protect Pollinator” license plates, featuring a design and slogan that expresses support for New Jersey’s native pollinator animals.

“New Jersey would not be the Garden State without the help it gets from its native pollinators,” said Bateman. “From the gardens we grow to the produce we purchase at a local farmer’s market, many of our fruits, vegetables, and flowers rely on pollinators like bees and butterflies. The license plates will ensure our ‘Jersey Fresh’ plants and crops grow strong for generations.”

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