Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Habitat Restoration’ Category

Protecting Seabeach Amaranth – New Jersey’s Endangered Beach Plant

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

by Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Seabeach Amaranth – Amaranthus pumilus

Although most of CWF’s work focuses on protecting New Jersey’s imperiled wildlife, in a few cases our mission overlaps with at-risk plants, as well. One such case involves seabeach amaranth, a state and federally-listed plant that shares the beach with our endangered beach nesting birds. In the past, CWF’s effort to protect seabeach amaranth was more “behind the scenes” through the development of beach management plans with coastal communities that put measures in place to protect plants from municipal activities. Over the past several years, in partnership with and through funding by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – New Jersey Field Office, CWF has now taken a more pro-active role in helping monitor and protect seabeach amaranth.

Starting in late May and all throughout June, CWF staff combs the state’s Atlantic coast beaches looking for amaranth plants that are just starting to germinate. Once found, the plants are protected with fence and signage, so they aren’t trampled by beach goers or driven over by vehicles conducting various beach maintenance activities, such as cleaning the beach with mechanical rakes. In the past they would have gone undetected and unprotected; few of the plants would have made it to the stage where they flower and produce seeds. Seabeach amaranth is an annual plant, its continued occurrence depends on seeds being produced and then dropped nearby or dispersed by wind or tides for next year’s “crop” of plants.

So far this season, mostly through the diligent fieldwork of CWF’s Biologist Sherry Tirgrath, we have located and protected 811 plants at 19 sites leading into the busy July 4 th holiday. The highest concentrations of plants are on beaches in southern Monmouth and northern Ocean counties. Since seabeach amaranth was rediscovered in New Jersey in 2000 – it had been absent since 1913 – Monmouth County, in particular Sandy Hook, a unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, has harbored most of the state’s seabeach amaranth population. However, over the past few years, increasingly more plants have been found on Ocean County beaches. In addition to increasing the overall population of plants, this wider distribution is one of the goals of the CWF/USFWs initiative.

With the early season work completed, CWF will now move onto other phases of the project. That includes repeat surveys for later germinating plants, ongoing maintenance of the fence we erected, and coordinating with the state’s beach nesting bird staff as they remove their fence once breeding season ends so it can be checked for plants. Those sites often have large numbers of plants as that habitat has been protected for birds – and as a result plants too – since late March or April. Finally, an annual statewide survey of seabeach amaranth occurs in late July and August and CWF will be “on call” to fence plants that are found by those survey crews. Plants can persist until late November in years with mild fall weather and low-flooding, in those cases our fence could remain up until then, so our work for the season has really just begun.

Protecting Flood-Prone Communities Through Wetland Restoration

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

by Christine Healy

Hurricane Ida. Hurricane Irene. Superstorm Sandy. These weather events represent three of the four most devasting storms recorded in New Jersey history. Though data dates back 218 years, all 3 have occurred within the past 11, substantiating concerns over the effect of climate change on tropical cyclone severity. Therefore, taking measures to safeguard communities from devastating floodwaters is more important now than it ever has been. But who said helping people can’t, in turn, help wildlife?

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Restored Garden is Ready for Wildlife at Watchung Reservation

Friday, May 6th, 2022

by Meghan Kolk, Wildlife Biologist

Conserve Wildlife Foundation has successfully completed the restoration of the Certified Wildlife Habitat behind the Trailside Nature and Science Center at Watchung Reservation. The project was initiated last fall with a major clean up of the overgrown and neglected garden. The cleanup included pulling weeds, digging up unwanted and overgrown plants, trimming shrubs and trees, clearing vines from trees, and raking and blowing leaves. As a result, sunlight was let into the garden so that new wildlife-friendly plants could be added. After the cleanup, new native shrubs were planted that attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other birds. A new deer fence was also installed to protect the plantings from deer browse. 

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Celebrating Earth Day with “Boots Not Suits” in Union County

Friday, April 29th, 2022

by Christine Healy, CWF Wildlife Biologist

CWF biologist Sherry Tirgrath prepares a river birch sapling for planting

As the coordinator for CWF’s Amphibian Crossing Project, I think it’s safe to say I spend more time than the average person hoping for rain to pop up in springtime forecasts. April 22, however, is always an exception. What could be better than warm and sunny conditions to inspire folks to get outside and celebrate Earth Day by giving back to the planet that gives us, well, everything? Mother Nature certainly came through with the weather last week, handing us one of the most glorious days of the season thus far, while the Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage, Union County Board of County Commissioners, Groundwork Elizabeth, and their partners offered a destination for all the aspiring wildlife warriors: Phil Rizzuto Park.


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Habitat Enhancements for Rare Species at the Sea Girt National Guard Training Center

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

by Meaghan Lyon, Wildlife Biologist

Although the Sea Girt National Guard Training Center (NGTC) has just a small section of beach to manage, their efforts there with threatened and endangered species has been big. Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey has been a partner in these efforts, monitoring the piping plovers that nest on this beach during the breeding season and assisting in the planning of habitat enhancements. The protection area at the NGTC has been the nesting site of a piping plover pair for the past three breeding seasons and it is likely they will return again this spring, all while supporting the military and recreational missions of the New Jersey Army National Guard.

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