Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Habitat Restoration’ Category

NEW JERSEY’S WILDLIFE IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 – PART 3

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

by David Wheeler, Executive Director

COVID-19 has changed our lives in virtually every possible way over the last few months. Our relationship to wildlife is no different. This three-part series explores the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown on wildlife in New Jersey and across the world. Read Part 1 and Part 2 and check out our podcast on COVID-19 and wildlife.

Part 3 The Threat of COVID-19

No discussion of COVID-19’s impact on wildlife would be complete with its fated beginning and its long-term threats posed by the global economic shutdown. As a zoonotic disease, COVID-19 likely was triggered by a virus in bats that got into a pangolin in a wet market that was then consumed by people, chance encounters made much more likely by a number of destructive human activities.

Clearing primal forests bring people into contact with remote wildlife for the first time, while also changing wildlife behaviors to increase the likelihood of their interaction with humans. Live animal markets offer ideal opportunities for viruses like COVID-19 to emerge. Illegal trafficking incentivizes further habitat clearing and poaching. Trading in exotic wildlife creates a host of problems both to the species themselves and to their ecosystems. (Though underexplored in the popular Tiger King series, the impacts of the exotic wildlife trade could make a fascinating series in its own right).

(more…)

Support rare wildlife in New Jersey and make twice the difference!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

You may have seen that a generous group of supporters has stepped forward to provide $20,000 to match any gift Conserve Wildlife Foundation receives to protect New Jersey’s wildlife this season. Your donation – whether $10 or $1,000 – will be worth double the amount you give.

Please consider making a gift today to keep CWF wildlife biologists in the field, protecting our at-risk wildlife when they need us most.

Despite the hundreds of thousands of people sheltering in place over the past six weeks, life outside goes on. Wildflowers are in bloom, bees are buzzing, and hummingbirds are back. Bald eagle nestlings are getting ready to fledge and ospreys are incubating eggs. Wildlife and the environment are thriving in the absence of human activity outside. With your help, Conserve Wildlife Foundation biologists can monitor and manage imperiled wildlife species to ensure they remain in good health.

For those of us who work outdoors in the environmental field, our office is the great outdoors – where social distancing is the norm. Over the past six weeks, I feel privileged to work for an organization with donors who support our wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement projects. While also homeschooling my two kids and supporting my wife working on the front lines in healthcare, I am leading several projects that directly benefit wildlife in this critical period.

Your support will help ensure that we can continue to fulfill our mission to protect New Jersey’s rare wildlife.

Spring marks the beginning of the busy season, where more time is spent in the field monitoring and managing wildlife than behind a computer at a desk writing reports and responding to emails. For me, it is often multifaceted and changes widely from day to day. One day I may be planting dunegrass in the rain. The next day I’m climbing a tower to survey a falcon nest.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve worked on some exciting projects, even getting help from my kids for some.

I’ve successfully repaired several osprey nest platforms which had fallen into disrepair. Had I not been able to repair these platforms, these birds would not have had a home to raise a family.

I’ve monitored several peregrine falcon nests to identify the adults and confirm that they are incubating eggs. Without our role, we would not know if there has been a turnover in the nesting pair and when their eggs might hatch.

And I have led the enhancement of an innovative half-acre terrapin habitat enhancement site in Little Egg Harbor. A big component of the success of this “turtle garden” is making sure we keep the sand in place – and to help with that, I’ve planted 600+ native plants.

As many of our members, fans, and donors know, a big focus of my work with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey has been aiding injured wildlife. My father was a veterinarian who also cared for wildlife, especially birds of prey, in his spare time, so his philanthropic efforts are in my blood.

A couple weeks ago I accepted a challenge to climb a large tree to re-nest a pair of great horned owl nestlings whose nest was destroyed in a windstorm. After a couple of hours of tree climbing and nest building, the two fuzzy owls were placed in their new nest. Although I was at first concerned that the adults might not return, I was delighted to hear that they were seen in the nest tree a couple days later.

Just the other day, I joined my New Jersey Fish & Wildlife colleague, Kathy Clark, on Barnegat Bay to save an entangled adult osprey that had been dangling from its nest platform for hours before it managed to get free.

Fortunately, I was able to safely trap the bird and remove the ball of monofilament wrapped around her wing. Her injuries were treated, and she was set free.

Like my fellow CWF colleagues, I’m determined to carry out our mission to preserve at-risk wildlife in New Jersey this season. That’s why, even during this pandemic, I must ask for your financial support.

Please donate now, when your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, to support our essential work, if you can. Thank you to everyone for helping me to protect our wildlife in whatever way you can.

Be safe, stay healthy, and enjoy the outdoors where possible.

Photo From The Field

Saturday, April 4th, 2020

Terrapin hatchlings and 3000 tons of sand.

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

If lucky, I might cross paths with this terrapin in another decade (if it’s a female) and she overcomes the odds and returns to nest here as an adult.

While out inspecting our newly created terrapin habitat enhancement site in Little Egg Harbor, I found several terrapin hatchlings who were traversing the 36″ high pile of sand. I was expecting to see some hatchlings, since many arise from the protection of nest cavities on warm spring days in April, but not on top of our enhancement site. The moment I spotted one of these half dollar sized turtles, I looked into the distance and saw another.

(more…)

Award Winning Program Removes Rubble for Horseshoe Crabs

Monday, December 30th, 2019

reTURN the Favor Honored with 2019 New Jersey Governor’s Excellence Award

By: Meghan Kolk, Wildlife Biologist

Volunteers making piles of rubble at Seabreeze. Photo by Meghan Kolk.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation has been a partner in the reTURN the Favor (RTF) program since its establishment in 2013.  This multi-partner program organizes a large group of trained and dedicated volunteers who collectively spend thousands of hours covering miles of Delaware Bay beaches to rescue stranded horseshoe crabs.

This year RTF was honored with a New Jersey’s Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award, New Jersey’s premier awards program for recognizing outstanding environmental performance, programs and projects throughout the state, in the Healthy Ecosystems & Habitats Category.

(more…)

MAJOR INCREASE OF ENDANGERED SEABEACH AMARANTH PLANTS SOUTH OF SANDY HOOK

Thursday, December 26th, 2019

by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

NJDEP biologist measuring seabeach amaranth
Photo by NJDEP

An annual plant census along New Jersey’s coastal beaches south of Sandy Hook shows a significant surge in the number of seabeach amaranth, a federally threatened and state endangered plant species, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced today.

Biologists with the DEP and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey counted 7,195 plants, a more than 600 percent increase from the 2018 total of 1,053 plants. Similarly, 1,591 of the plants are at Island Beach State Park, compared with 307 found there in 2018 — a more than 500 percent increase.

(more…)