Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Habitat Enhancement’

Giving Back to Great Bay Terrapins

Monday, November 25th, 2019

CWF partners with NJ Fish & Wildlife to enhance habitat for terrapins in Little Egg Harbor

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

A female terrapin nesting along Great Bay Blvd.

Northern diamondback terrapins are a coast hugging, saltmarsh living, shellfish eating, aquatic turtle. Their ultimate survival depends on the ability of adult females to safely access nesting areas during summer months. Since 2010 CWF has worked to document and reduce roadkills of terrapins on roads in southern Ocean and northern Atlantic Counties. 


New Story Map Shows How Turtle Gardens Actually “Grow” Baby Terrapins

Monday, September 12th, 2016
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey Releases a New Story Map: “Turtle Gardens”

By: Michael Davenport, Wildlife Biologist & GIS Program Manager

The northern diamondback terrapin is an imperiled species of turtle found in brackish coastal waters along the northeast coast of the United States. Within New Jersey, much of the nesting habitat once used by terrapins has been lost to development and rising sea level. What little suitable nesting habitat remains is often inaccessible to terrapins due to bulkheads or other construction and road mortality is a major cause of terrapin mortality as they cross roadways seeking nesting sites.

Screen-shot of the Turtle Gardens story map.

Screen-shot of the Turtle Gardens story map.

Turtle gardens provide suitable nesting habitat for diamondback terrapins where little natural suitable habitat remains or is inaccessible. By enhancing the existing habitat at a site within the terrapin’s range to meet their nesting habitat requirements, terrapins can more safely lay their eggs within an area specifically set-aside for them.

CWF recently partnered with the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) on a pilot project turtle garden on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. The newly released Turtle Gardens story map details this project.



Volunteer Work Day at LBIF

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

LBIF Work Day Flyer 11-20-15

Ponderlodge: Before/After

Monday, October 15th, 2012

It’s been several years since the old Ponderlodge Golf Course was purchased by the Green Acres Program. After being slated for use as a satellite campus for Stockton College the old lodge and other buildings are long gone from the site. Today, the site is managed for wildlife and outdoor recreation. The old paved cart paths make it a magnet for local residents to easily explore it’s features. We’re delighted to be working with NJ Fish & Wildlife to enhance the habitat on site.  This past week we planted over 2,700 native species in an area we call the “Backyard Habitat Demonstration Site.” It’s in an area where the old lodge used to be located. The purpose of the site is for visitors to learn about features they themselves can install in their own backyards to benefit wildlife. We have 6 main features: Forested habitat, Scrub-shrub, Wildflower meadow, Pond (not yet installed), Nectar producing plants, and a brush pile. The features will be highlighted by interpretive signs and we hope to get volunteers to help maintain the site in the future.

BEFORE: The old lodge at the former Ponderlodge Golf Course in Villas, New Jersey in 2008. © Ben Wurst


DURING: Shortly after demolition in April 2011. A bare landscape with no value to wildlife at all… © Ben Wurst



AFTER: Volunteers and staff planted over 2,700 native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses for wildlife. © Ben Wurst

Photo from the Field

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
Final Phase of site work at Ballanger Creek Complete!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

An excavator removes milled asphalt that was dumped into freshwater wetlands. © Ben Wurst

In late 2009 we received notification that we were going to receive funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to carry out a habitat enhancement project inside Bass River State Forest. The purpose of the project was to enhance habitat on site for migratory birds and other wildlife, especially rare species. The main part of the project was to remove fill and control invasives, like phragmites, that was illegally dumped on the edge of freshwater wetlands. The first phase of the project was to create scrub-shrub habitat. In early 2010 we planted over 1,000 native shrubs that provide both food and cover. Even though it was a hot, dry summer last year many of the shrubs are already flowering and bearing fruit. In summer we broadcast 75 lbs. of wildflower seed in the old fallow fields. Finally, over the past 2 weeks a crew from Anthony Excavating Inc. used excavators to remove tons (literally) of milled asphalt, concrete, and other debris (everything but the kitchen sink) along the edge of the wetlands. They used a small excavator that was able to reach a long distance without disturbing much of the surrounding area.

A series of interpretive signs are being designed and will be installed on site this fall. I also plan to work with volunteers from Bass River State Forest to enhance a 1.5 mile loop hiking trail around an old fire road on the edge of the wetlands.



Removing milled asphalt that was dumped into freshwater wetlands. © Ben Wurst