Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Barnegat Bay’

Helping oysters recover in Barnegat Bay through our crab pot recycling program

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

by Emily Heiser

Last week, Conserve Wildlife joined the American Littoral Society at their annual Parade of Boats event in conjunction with the Operation Oyster program.

Conserve Wildlife, through funding from NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, has spent the last several years in a related effort to clean up Barnegat Bay.  Removing derelict crab traps or ghost pots from the bay has been an ongoing initiative.  Ghost pots are lost in a variety of ways including improper rigging to buoys and buoy lines cut by passing boat traffic.

The issue spans not only the commercial crabbing industry, but the recreational industry as well.  The longer the pots sit on the bottom of the bay the more likely they are to serve as a deathtrap for a variety of marine species.  The more marine life that becomes trapped the more the pots continue to attract other marine life.  This is of particular concern for Northern Diamondback Terrapins that frequently investigate these pots looking for a quick meal only to be trapped and quickly drown. (more…)

2018 Osprey Outlook

Monday, July 30th, 2018
Insight Into Important (Bio)Indicators: Ospreys

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

CWF Osprey Banding Apprentice Northside Jim holds a young osprey, 13/K, after banding.

Mid-summer marks the nestling period of nesting ospreys, a coastal raptor, whose diet consists mainly of fish. As a state that’s heavily influenced by its location along the Atlantic Ocean, they play a critical role in our coastal ecosystem. Ospreys are important bioindicators of the health of our coastal waters, through the lens of their prey, where pollutants are biomagnified through the food chain. As we consume many of the same fish, they show the effects of these pollutants long before humans, so the health of their population has implications for our coastal waters and us! (more…)

CWF Releases New Video About Abandoned Crab Pots in Barnegat Bay

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

by Erin Conversano

Crabbing has been an annual tradition of residents and visitors to the Barnegat Bay region. Yet when those crab pots are abandoned or adrift, they can become death traps for local wildlife, including at-risk species like diamondback terrapin.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s new video “Fishing for a Cleaner Barnegat Bay” details this complex ecological challenge. Produced by Citizen Racecar, the video is now available to the public here.

Due to a passing boat, a storm, or simply forgetfulness, abandoned “ghost” crab pots litter Barnegat Bay, continuing to catch crabs and fish. Worst of all is that when animals get stuck in a crab pot, they attract more animals, which in turn also are trapped. Each animal caught acts as bait for new animals to come along.

Some fish species that get caught are blackfish and sea bass. And since the crab pots are just lying at the bottom of the Bay, they do not get emptied out. As a result, any fish that get caught in the crab pots can’t escape and end up starving to death.

Some bycatch findings in retrieved crab pots

Fish are not the only victims of the crab pot death traps – the famous diamondback terrapin, a turtle species that is currently experiencing an alarming population decline rate, also is a common victim of being trapped by abandoned crab pots. One crab trap has even been found to contain 17 dead terrapins.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem, as described in the video. Conserve Wildlife Foundation, supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Marine Debris Removal Program, is tackling the problem directly by finding and removing abandoned crab pots from the water. GPS grid and SONAR imagery from Stockton State University allows recovery teams to find exactly where the crab pots are located. Low-cost SONAR devices can even be used by well-trained fishermen to find their own crab pots merely days after losing them.

Over 1,300 abandoned crab traps were picked up by the program in Barnegat Bay over the past two winters. Ultimately, the metal used in the crab traps is either recycled or used to create energy by corporate partners Covanta and Schnitzer Steel.

“This is a true environmental success story because it addresses a serious ecological problem by creating ecological and economic benefits for the good of the greater Barnegat Bay community,” says CWF Executive Director David Wheeler. “Thanks to local fishermen and volunteer students, removing these death traps has prevented countless at-risk diamondback terrapins and other species from drowning unnecessarily. It also has strengthened public safety by removing navigational hazards from the bay.”

In addition to NOAA’s support for the project, the video was made possible by funding from the New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership. Other project partners and supporters include the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science – Ocean County Vocational Technical School, Stockton University, Monmouth University, American Littoral Society, Covanta, and ReClam the Bay.

Barnegat Bay Cleanup!

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

NJDEP’s 9th BARNEGAT BAY BLITZ SET FOR FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 2018

by Erin Conversano, CWF Intern

Would you like to help restore the health of Barnegat Bay’s ecosystem? You can participate in a day of action for the Bay! The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be hosting its next Barnegat Bay Blitz clean-up day on Friday, June 8.

Join Conserve Wildlife Foundation and hundreds of other volunteers across the watershed, which includes all of Ocean County and parts of Monmouth County, in helping to clean up the Barnegat Bay Watershed and spread awareness about pollution that impacts the Bay. Clean-up events are happening all throughout the watershed!

To register for a clean-up, visit the DEP’s website.

Barnegat Blitz highlights include:

  • 31,582 volunteers
  • 4,579 cubic yards of trash and recyclables cleaned up
  • 37 municipal partners
  • 20 corporate and nonprofit partners
  • 2 llamas that help haul out the trash collected by volunteers

In the middle of Barnegat Bay, there are many small islands called Sedges. These islands are home to a number of species of plants and animals, but unfortunately are impacted by litter that the tide washes in. Volunteers by boat, kayak and standup paddle board will make their way out to many of these islands, including Island Beach State Park, Seaside Heights and Brick to sweep them clean of debris. Get involved!

It’s not just the bayfront communities that impact Barnegat Bay. Communities miles and miles inland also play a role. After all, we are all downstream! That is why at the Barnegat Bay Blitz, volunteers will work to clean up all over the watershed, from inland areas of Plumsted to the barrier islands. In Plumsted, a farming community, volunteers include more than just people! Llamas will also join the crew to help haul out trash and debris that volunteers collect from the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management area. To make friends with llamas, register for the Plumsted clean-up on DEP’s website.

Osprey 04/D Back in Jersey!

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Barnegat Bay Osprey Returns to New Jersey After Two Year Vacation

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

04/D was photographed in Allendale at the Celery Farm by Barbara Dilger on Monday, April 23.

North American ospreys migrate long distances to and from their breeding and wintering grounds in the southern U.S., Central America, Caribbean Islands, and N. South America. For the past four years we have been banding young ospreys who originate from nests on Barnegat Bay with an auxiliary band to help determine their movements after fledging. Project RedBand was designed to help track the migration, dispersal, life span, and foraging habits of ospreys from Barnegat Bay, a unique estuary along the Atlantic Coast of New Jersey. The project was also designed to help engage the public in osprey management and conservation. Since the red bands are highly visible and readable with optics, it allows the public the ability to identify the individual and then learn about their past. Lastly, we now rely heavily on citizen scientists who report nesting activity on Osprey Watch(more…)

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