Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘US Fish and Wildlife Service’

Piping Plover and Least Tern Workshop

Friday, February 17th, 2023

by Meaghan Lyon, Wildlife Biologist

At the beginning of February, CWF biologists Todd Pover, and Meaghan Lyon attended the USFWS’s Piping Plover and Least Tern Workshop at the National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia. The winter season is the perfect time for beach nesting bird folks to gather and discuss the status of each state’s breeding population and how we can do better to reach recovery goals for these endangered species in the coming years.

For management purposes, the east coast of the United States is broken up into three sections; the Southern recovery unit, the mid-Atlantic recovery unit (this is New York and New Jersey!), and the New England recovery unit. The Southern recovery unit, consisting of plovers breeding from North Carolina north to Delaware, has been on a decreasing trend for productivity and not meeting recovery goals, whereas the population in New England is booming with pairs (so much so that plovers are nesting in parking lots and the backyards of beach front homes!). New Jersey and New York have been holding steady with 581 pairs of piping plover combined and just barely meeting our collective recovery goal.

Topics of high interest among the group of roughly 100 participants included predators, migratory pathways, and advancing diversity and inclusion among our community. Biologists across the coast have been grappling with predation by ghost crabs and this could be increasingly problematic in the future with impacts from climate change. As the climate warms, we could be seeing more mild winters, which translates to less crab die off during the winter and bigger crabs during the beach nesting bird season, thence becoming more of a threat to nests and chicks.

Workshops like this allow us to join together and discuss what is working and what is or could be problematic in the future so that biologist across the range can be well equipped with the knowledge and connections to protect plovers and all of the other species that use beach habitats across the range.

CWF Celebrates Another Successful Growing Season for Seabeach Amaranth

Tuesday, October 25th, 2022

By Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist

This season marked the fourth year that CWF has been involved in helping protect and recover seabeach amaranth, a state and federally-listed beach plant. Starting in 2019, in partnership with and through funding by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – New Jersey Field Office (USFWS), CWF began to protect amaranth on Monmouth County beaches, then the stronghold for the plant in the state. After promising results that first year, the USFWS expanded the initiative to other coastal counties, making it more of a statewide effort.

Seabeach amaranth plant

Under the project, CWF staff begins surveying the state’s Atlantic coast beaches in early June looking for newly germinated amaranth plants. Once found, we protect the plants with fence and signage, so they aren’t trampled by beach goers or driven over by vehicles. In the past, annual surveys of the plants were conducted in New Jersey at the peak of the growing season – late July and August – but there was little pro-active protection of the plants earlier in the season.


Researching Beach Nesting Birds at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
Conserve Wildlife Foundation Partners with National Wildlife Refuge to Collect Data on Beach Nesting Birds

Posted by: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager


Piping Plover Nest

Piping Plover Nest

Did you know barrier island beach makes up approximately 2% of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge? This area is the most productive for beach nesting birds. The federally threatened piping plover and other species such as least tern, black skimmer, and a species of special concern, the American oystercatcher, nest on Holgate Beach. The refuge closes the Holgate unit from April 1st to September 1st every year to provide undisturbed nesting habitat for these important species.


Not only is it important to protect nesting habitat for the birds, but it is also important to provide education opportunities to the public. Each summer, the refuge relies on volunteers during the summer months to talk to the public about the beach closure and bird management, and answer any general questions about Forsythe Refuge.


This year, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey partnered with the refuge to assist in the collection of nesting data. “In the past, refuge staff has done all the beach nesting bird monitoring,” said Refuge Manager Virginia Rettig. “This year we are very excited to be working with our partners to monitor the population status of these birds. The work they are doing, combined with the data they collect, will improve our understanding of beach nesting birds on Forsythe Refuge.”


CWF Field Technician Jesse Amesbury tracking piping plovers at Holgate with his scope.

CWF Field Technician Jesse Amesbury tracking piping plovers at Holgate with his scope.

“Holgate provides highly suitable undisturbed natural habitat for at-risk beach nesting birds, especially piping plover – a rarity along the otherwise highly developed and recreated New Jersey Coast,” said Todd Pover, CWF Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager. “Maximizing productivity at this site is a high priority for regional and range-wide recovery efforts.”


Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge protects more than 47,000 acres of sensitive wetlands, marshes, and coastal habitats along the New Jersey shore. It is one of the most important habitats for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds east of the Mississippi River.

Learn more:

Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Beach Nesting Bird Project
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge





Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

New Jersey’s Elusive and Endangered “Tiger”

Thursday, March 12th, 2015
Studying the New Jersey Endangered Eastern Tiger Salamander

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is excited to celebrate Amphibian Awareness Month during March 2015! Follow us on social media and be sure to check your email (sign up for our list) for weekly stories on the amphibians of the Garden State and our work to protect them. 

By: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager

TS egg mass @ Pat Sutton

Tiger Salamander egg mass @ Pat Sutton

This week, Conserve Wildlife Foundation, New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and dedicated trained volunteers surveyed a known Eastern Tiger Salamander breeding vernal pool complex. Tiger Salamanders emerge from their underground burrows in the early winter to breed and lay egg masses in the pools. By March, the adults have returned to their burrows.


Biologists and volunteers go out to pools during the winter months to survey for egg masses to determine if the pools are being used by Tiger Salamanders. The cold winter made getting out to pools difficult due to the ice cover, so now that it is warming up we hoped to still be able to find egg masses that hadn’t yet hatched.

Surveying for TS egg masses

Surveying for Tiger Salamander egg masses


One hundred sixty egg masses were found in the largest pool, some the of eggs had already hatched but others were still intact. Tiger Salamander larvae was seen along with the larvae of the Marbled Salamander. Vernal pools are breeding grounds for many species which is why it is so important to protect them.


Marbled Salamander larvae @ Pat Sutton

Marbled Salamander larvae @ Pat Sutton


In New Jersey, there are only 15 known Tiger Salamander breeding pools in the southern most part of the state. Tiger Salamanders themselves are targeted by collectors for the pet trade which is why their breeding locations are kept a secret. Their habitat is declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, development, pollution, changes in hydrology, and climate change.


To see what biologists are doing to protect them visit:

Larissa Smith is a Wildlife Biologist and the Volunteer Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Help Northern Long-Eared Bats Become Listed as Endangered Species

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Photo Credit: MacKenzie Hall

Photo Credit: MacKenzie Hall


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the public comment period on a proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Comments will be accepted through Thursday, December 18, 2014.


The public is invited to submit comments one of two ways:

(1)  Electronically:  Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal:  In the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”

(2)  By hard copy:  Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to:  Public Comments Processing, Attn:  FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

During the previous comment period, from June 30 to August 29, 2014, USFWS received over 65,800 comments on this issue!


Why is it so important?

The Northern Long Eared Bat, like many other bat species in the United States, is in danger of extinction due to White-Nose Syndrome, impacts to hibernacula, summer habitat loss and wind farm operation. Listing a species as endangered, under the protections of the Act, increases the priority of the species for funds, grants, and recovery opportunities.


How Else Can You Help Protect Northern Long-Eared Bats?
These tips were pulled from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Northern Long-Eared Bat Fact Sheet:

  • Do Not Disturb Hibernating Bats
  • Leave Dead and Dying Trees Standing: Where possible and not a safety hazard, leave dead or dying trees on your property. Northern long-eared bats and many other animals use these trees.
  • Install a Bat Box: Dead and dying trees are usually not left standing, so trees suitable for roosting may be in short supply and bat boxes can provide additional roost sites.


Learn more:

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Coordinator for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.