Conserve Wildlife Blog

November 21st, 2014

Atlantic City Electric Holds Avian Protection Educational Event

Details Measures Taken to Help Protect Wildlife and Improve Reliability

Photo Credit: Atlantic City Electric. Pictured left to right are Ben Wurst, wildlife biologist, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey; Ed Kaminski, senior supervising engineer, ACE; Cristina Frank, lead environmental scientist, ACE; and Mike Garrity, senior supervising scientist, ACE.

Photo Credit: Atlantic City Electric. Pictured left to right are Ben Wurst, wildlife biologist, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey; Ed Kaminski, senior supervising engineer, ACE; Cristina Frank, lead environmental scientist, ACE; and Mike Garrity, senior supervising scientist, ACE.

Atlantic City Electric (ACE), in collaboration with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, recently held an Avian Protection Educational Event to promote a better understanding of how Atlantic City Electric helps protect birds and other animals, while also helping improve electric service reliability for customers.

ACE environmental scientists Cristina Frank and Mike Garrity detailed the various types of migratory and breeding birds that may perch or nest on power lines, including ospreys, which frequently nest on utility poles. They discussed various types of devices placed on wires and other infrastructure designed to minimize the risk of birds and other wildlife from coming in contact with electric wires and equipment.

“Hundreds of thousands of birds migrate through Cape May County each year,” said Cristina Frank, lead environmental scientist, Atlantic City Electric and head of the company’s Avian Protection Program. “We conduct field studies to determine areas throughout Cape May County and our entire service territory to determine which areas are of the greatest risk to birds and other wildlife.”

ACE senior supervising engineer Ed Kaminski explained how avian protection is an integral part of the design phase before constructing any new infrastructure projects or upgrading existing infrastructure.

“We are in constant communication with our environmental team, and, when necessary, we’ll enhance our infrastructure to minimize the risk to birds while helping reduce the number of related power outages to create a more reliable electric system for customers,” Kaminski said.

Atlantic City Electric recently completed infrastructure enhancements in Cape May, Ocean City and Strathmere, N.J., that addressed risks to avian wildlife. As a result, the company has not seen any bird-related incidents since in these areas.

Also as part of the event, Ben Wurst, a wildlife biologist with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, discussed the foundation’s role in helping manage and protect ospreys through man-made nesting platforms that provide a safer nesting alternative than utility poles. ACE partners with Conserve Wildlife to identify and address risks to birds throughout its service territory.

Birds routinely use power line poles and towers as perches to establish territorial boundaries, nest, hunt, rest, find shade and feed. Utility poles often provide perching or nesting opportunities in areas where few natural perches or nest sites can be found. If the configuration and location of utility structures are in areas where birds are attracted by favorable habitat or are in a migratory path, the chance of electrocution and/or collisions increase.

Learn more:

November 20th, 2014

Eagle Battles In New Jersey

Wildlife Blogger Jim from Readings From The Northside was lucky enough to witness two bald eagles fighting over a deceased duck. He captured their battle on film and describes what he saw on his blog Readings From The Northside.

As the numbers of eagles increase in New Jersey, these type of disputes are becoming more common place. Eagles not only fight over food but territory as well. Several eagles have been found deceased or injured this past year due to conflicts with other eagles.

Learn more about Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Eagle Project.

Eagles fight over duck at LBI @ Readings From the Northside

Eagles fight over duck at LBI @ Readings From the Northside

Eagles lock talons @ Readings From the Northside

Eagles lock talons @ Readings From the Northside

November 19th, 2014

Celebrate GIS Day with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey

Data nerds rejoice! Today, Wednesday, November 19 is GIS Day. Geographic information systems (GIS) technology helps our wildlife biologists protect rare species throughout New Jersey. GIS technology is used to create our species range maps and other important tools that show where wildlife occur and what habitat they need to exist.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is a key player in updating the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program’s (ENSP) database of rare wildlife species. The database called “Biotics” is a GIS and Oracle-based system developed by NatureServe, the leading source of information on the precise locations and conditions of rare and threatened species and ecological communities in the Western Hemisphere.

Although CWF and ENSP biologists submit a majority of the data on Biotics, we rely on the help of citizen scientists to fully understand the wildlife picture in New Jersey. Do you want to help biologists monitor certain areas of the state and locate the presence of species of concern? Visit our website to learn how you can get involved.

In addition to the Biotics database, GIS was used to create range maps for all 190 species featured on our online field guide! Check it out.

Have you seen our American Oystercatcher Story Map? GIS was used to create that tool as well! A Story Map is a web-based interactive GIS map embedded with all kinds of content, like text, photographs, and video.

storymap
“American Oystercatchers Through the Seasons”
 tells the story about a species of migratory bird, the American Oystercatcher, which spends the summer breeding season along the New Jersey coast, and is present year-round along the southern New Jersey coast. Learn more about our Story Map.

This GIS Day, take a look at all of the maps around you and consider supporting additional Conserve Wildlife Foundation Story Maps!



November 18th, 2014

Read All About It: Newsworthy BatCam Big Brown Bats

StephanieBatCamABC7

BatCam, the live-action camera that captures a colony of big brown bats living in a family home in Flemington, received plenty of media attention this week. BatCam is hosted on Conserve Wildlife Foundation‘s website, thanks to the Williams family.

The bats’ unusual choice of a summer roost has given this family a unique peek at their lives, from knowing exactly when the bats return from hibernation each spring, to watching them give birth and care for their pups though the summer.

The bats also caught the attention of New Jersey media. Read about the colony of big brown bats:

Learn more about Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s work to help protect NJ’s bat population:

November 14th, 2014

Ebola of the Sea? Dolphins Still Dying Off Coast

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A live bottlenose dolphin on Tobay Beach in Nassau County, New York. (Photo Credit: APP/Riverhead Foundation for Research and Preservation)

Bottlenose Dolphins, their numbers impacted last year from a nasty virus that rivals the death rate of Ebola in West Africa, are still dying, researchers have found.

The outbreak of morbillivirus, a measles-like virus that causes pneumonia, skin lesions and brain infections, has killed roughly twice as many bottlenose dolphins as the last big outbreak in 1987-88. In New Jersey, 151 bottlenose dolphins died last year — nearly 10 times this year’s toll so far, according to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine.

Morbillivirus is highly contagious. It’s spread through respiration (via blowholes) and direct contact. Experts think the virus may also be spread through skin contact.

Asbury Park Press Reporter Todd B. Bates explores the unusual mortality event:

Learn more: