Conserve Wildlife Blog

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

September 25th, 2020

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

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, 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.”

In a video overview of the project, Christina Davis, Fish and Wildlife environmental specialist, stands at the restoration site and touts the “cooperative effort that got us to this point.”

“This project,” she points out, “began on a cocktail napkin two decades ago,” when Pover announced a desire to “bring this site back to its former glory, where it hosted many pairs of black skimmers and least terns and piping plovers.”

 “I’ve been doing piping plover work for about 25 years,” Pover explains in the video. “Going back two or three decades, (Barnegat Light) is one of the more important spots, not only for piping plovers, but we had large colonies of black skimmers and terns here. But over time, the site got vegetated and more mature, and the birds do not like that kind of habitat.”

The Army Corps, in the early 1990s, “put in the jetty to stabilize Barnegat Inlet, and when they did that, they sort of stabilized the natural coastal dynamics that were features of this site,” said Maslo. “So in doing that, all of this sand accreeded, and vegetation grew in this location. As part of the mitigation for lost beach-nesting bird habitat – to do that inlet – the Army Corps was charged with providing some funding for restoring habitat or maintaining habitat in this area.”


Watch our video update on the Barnegat Light Restoration Project here.

Learn more about CWF’s Beach Nesting Bird Project here.

Learn more about the Piping Plover here.

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2 Responses to “CWF In The News: Habitat Restoration Project in Barnegat Light a Collaborative Success”

  1. Karl M. Soehnlein says:

    Just wondering if the public will have access to the new tidal pond after the plover season is over?

    Are there any thoughts of building and observation platform overlooking the tidal pond?

  2. Todd Pover says:

    To your questions, Karl Soehnlein…the pond will be accessible to the public after October 15 and fenced again (for breeding birds) again around April 1. At this time there are no plans for an observation platform, that would require a separate permit and additional funding, but it has been suggested by some others as well, so it is at least something to be considered.

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