Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Wildlife Protection’ Category

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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Empty Nest Syndrome: NJ Eagle Chicks Fledge

Monday, June 6th, 2022

by: Larissa Smith, CWF biologist

Clinton nest, nine week old chick stretching it’s wings: photo by Linda Rapacki
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Shorebird Stewards Make A Difference

Sunday, May 29th, 2022

by: Larissa Smith, CWF biologist

Since 2003 Conserve Wildlife Foundation has been coordinating the Delaware Bay Shorebird Stewards. Shorebird Stewards are posted at the beaches with restricted access during the shorebird season. This is done so that the shorebirds can feed undisturbed on horseshoe crab eggs. The beach restrictions are from May 7th to June 7th. The Delaware Bay is an important stopover for these birds on their way north to their breeding grounds. Stewards educate the public about the need for the beach restrictions. Once most people learn about the connection between the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds, they are more than happy to accept the restrictions. This season there were thirty-one stewards on 10 beaches in Cape May and Cumberland Counties. They are dedicated and on the beaches despite the weather, bugs and sometimes lack of shorebirds. Stewards are on beaches through Monday, so stop by and say “hello”.

Thank you Shorebird Stewards

Shorebirds on Thompson’s Beach, photo by: Matt Tribulski

2022 Amphibian Crossing Season Update

Thursday, April 7th, 2022

by Christine Healy, Wildlife Biologist

Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum)

Rainy nights with evening temperatures edging into the mid-40s or above. Seems easy to plan for rescue nights, doesn’t it? Certainly not this year!

CWF’s Amphibian Crossing Project targets the earliest breeders in northern New Jersey, including wood frogs, spotted salamanders, and Jefferson salamanders. These vernal pool obligates must find their way from forested winter habitat to ephemeral wetlands each spring in order to successfully reproduce. Snowmelt and warm, moist air signal individuals to resume activity after a long winter’s brumation (hibernation for ectothermic “cold-blooded” animals) underground. As soon as they emerge, they head to the pools which, in our increasingly fragmented world, often means entering into a real-world game of Frogger. The stakes are incredibly high and many do not make it out alive.

Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

To combat this problem, our team of devoted volunteers has been braving the elements for the last 20 years, ferrying slow moving amphibians across busy roadways during the earliest wave of the annual migration. Their efforts not only increase survivorship and breeding potential, but also raises awareness and contributes valuable data to justify the construction of long-term solutions. This season, 103 participants were involved in the project, working across three CWF managed roads in Byram, Liberty, and Hampton Twps. and one site in Hardwick Twp. organized by Blaine Rothauser, a senior ecologist for GZA GeoEnvironmental and Dennis Briede, stewardship manager at the Land Conservancy of New Jersey. All together, we assisted with the movement of 2,456 amphibians of 9 species, 26% of which represented species of concern.

Without a doubt, these numbers are impressive, however, I can’t help but reflect on this season with agitation. Late February and March featured dramatic temperature swings, characterized by sunny days in the 70s followed by cold snaps with snow and ice. Freezing conditions can damage amphibian egg masses and fluctuating weather may punctuate and elongate the migration, making movement difficult to predict. Lightning storms and heavy wind kept us off the roads during a few of the seasons peak nights, though based on the results of morning mortality surveys, the same cannot be said for drivers…

While amphibian rescue events do localized communities a lot of good, seasons like this one really highlight the need to remove a dependence on humans from the survival equation, especially as global climate change continues to cause deviations from “normal”. We’re anticipating the first frog/salamander-specific wildlife passage in NJ to break ground at our Byram Twp. site in the summer of 2023, after years of planning by the Endangered and Nongame Species program and many partners.

We can’t wait to see the impact this project has on the population of amphibians reliant on New Jersey’s largest vernal pool and how it inspires similar projects in the future.  

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

Delaware Bay Shorebird Stewards needed for 2022 season

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022
Shorebirds along Delaware Bay: photo by Shorebird Steward Bob Bocci

May is wonderful time of year at the Delaware Bay. Horseshoe crabs are spawning and shorebirds stopping over on their migration to feed on the eggs. One of these shorebirds the red-knot, is a federally threatened species. Beaches along the Delaware Bay in New Jersey are extremely important stops in their migration. Many of these beaches have been restricted from May 7th to June 7th to allow the shorebirds to feed undisturbed. They need to gain enough weight to be able to fly non-stop to their breeding grounds in the artic.

photo by Shorebird Steward Dom Manalo

People come from all over to view this natural phenomenon and the Delaware bay is a popular tourist destination. It’s important to have Shorebird stewards on these restricted beaches to educate the public about the crabs and shorebirds. Shorebird stewards support beach restrictions by being present at closed beaches during shorebird season to ensure that resting and foraging shorebirds are not disturbed. This job includes educating beach visitors as to why the beaches are closed and the importance of the beaches to horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds.

Stewards are needed short term in May at beaches along the Delaware Bay in Cape May County from the Villas north to Reed’s Beach and beaches in Cumberland.

Please contact Larissa Smith at Larissa.Smith@conservewildlifenj.org for more details.

Part time Shorebird Stewards needed