Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Wildlife Protection’ Category

A Summer at the Beach: Protecting Seabeach Amaranth

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

by Sherry Tirgrath, Assistant Biologist

Seabeach Amaranth, a state endangered/federally threatened beach plant.

Most people would enjoy their summer days being spent on the beach. Long, sunny days listening to crashing waves and shorebird calls with a salty breeze blowing gently across your face – sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be awesome to experience that nearly every day of the summer? Well, that’s been my life since early June of 2021. I am a new recruit of Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, and when I was offered to take on the role of rare plant technician, surveying Seabeach Amaranth and other protected shore plants along the Jersey coast, I jumped on the opportunity.

Now to give everyone a little background on Seabeach Amaranth before I continue – this federally threatened and state endangered beach plant is an annual bloomer, growing low and branching out along the ground, sometimes reaching up to a meter in diameter or more. However, many plants remain relatively small and some may never grow more than a few centimeters across. Larger plants produce more seeds, and therefore are more successful at propagating the species. It has red stems and thick, waxy, greenish-red leaves that are somewhat reminiscent of spinach. In mid to late summer, these plants produce tiny pale-yellow flowers in the center of leaf clusters at the tip of each stem. These flowers contain the seeds that will hopefully go on to produce next year’s amaranth. The seeds are dispersed in a variety of ways. They may drop near the “parent” and remain relatively close to where plants have germinated in previous years. Some may be carried by wind as sand is blown along the beach. Rising tides may wash out seeds, as well, sometimes redistributing them on the shore in what are known as “wrack lines.” Wrack lines contain the debris left behind by the high tides, typically consisting of sea grass, shells and human litter. Amaranth is often found growing in them.

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Barnegat Light Habitat Restoration: Measuring Success by More Than Just the Numbers

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

By Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Pi Patel, one of the eight piping plovers chicks that fledged from the Barnegat Inlet Restoration site in 2021. Photo courtesy of Matt Reitinger.

The success of a habitat restoration project is typically measured in numbers, number of acres restored, the abundance of target species, breeding success of the wildlife using it, that sort of thing. And we certainly have good numbers for the Barnegat Light Habitat Restoration Project… 40 acres restored, including two foraging pond, five pairs of piping plovers using the site this year, a substantial increase from one pair just two years ago, and breeding success above the federal recovery goal and well above the state average for two years running since the project was fully completed.

But there’s more to the success than numbers, it can also be told through names. So first a disclaimer; we name our banded piping plovers in New Jersey. This practice is sometimes frowned upon by other researchers who fear anthropomorphism undermines their scientific credibility or leads to misunderstanding about biological processes.  Point taken, but in the case of piping plovers, we believe naming can potentially lead to better engagement in their conservation through dynamic outreach, much the way Monty and Rose, Chicago’s famous plovers have garnered huge public support. Also, in New Jersey our banded plovers typically have four bands, so it is much easier for our monitoring staff to identify and communicate about a bird named “Major Tom” than orange over light blue (left), orange over black (right). Finally, some people are just plain curmudgeons about this issue, but endangered species recovery work is hard, so having a little fun with it isn’t such an awful thing! So, let’s get to the names and the “stories” they tell.

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Delaware Bay Shorebird Stewards: Protecting Shorebirds

Sunday, June 6th, 2021

By: Larissa Smith, CWF Wildlife Biologist

Shorebird Steward Tony Natale

There are many aspects to the Delaware Bay Shorebird Project. During the month of May researchers survey, re-sight and band shorebirds as well as conduct horseshoe crab egg counts. Nine beaches in Cape May and Cumberland Counties have restricted access during May, which allows the shorebirds to feed on the horseshoe crab eggs.

Shorebird Steward Bill Reinert@ Dom Manalo

Shorebird stewards are out on the beaches in all types of weather and insect seasons making sure that the restricted areas are respected. They do this through education and explaining to beach goers the importance of allowing shorebirds to have these undisturbed areas to feed. Stewards really make a big difference in shorebird protection on the bay and we thank them for all of their efforts this shorebird season. This season there were plenty of horseshoe crabs spawning with eggs in abundance, but unfortunately the shorebird numbers were down this season. For more details on the 2021 Shorebird season can be found in the article ,Red knot numbers plummet, pushing shorebird closer to extinction.

Photo From the Field: #213

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021
Ben Wurst, CWF Habitat Program Manager (right) with local volunteers, AC Electric and DuBois Environmental Staff who helped install this osprey nest platform in Atlantic City.
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Delaware Bay Shorebird Stewards Hit The Shore To Educate Beach Goers

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

by Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist

Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Delaware Bay Shorebird Stewards will be on Restricted access beaches in Cape May and Cumberland Counties from May 15th through the 31st. We will be educating beach goers about the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds.

Plan a visit to the bay in May to witness this spectacular wildlife phenomena!

Watch the video above to learn more.

Thanks to The American Littoral Society for their help on this project.