Conserve Wildlife Blog

JB MDL Military Conservation Partnership Award & CWF Projects

August 17th, 2023

by Meaghan Lyon, Wildlife Biologist

Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) awarded Joint Base McGuire, Fort Dix, and Lakehurst (JB MDL) with the Military Conservation Partnership Award for outstanding efforts to protect both State and Federally listed threatened and endangered species. The award recognizes significant natural resource management achievements by military installations, particularly the conservation of important wildlife and their habitats through cooperative work with USFWS and other partners. CWF has been a major partner on many projects at JB MDL spanning from grassland habitat restoration and monitoring, myotis bat surveys and tracking, and a full mammal inventory.

Over the past six years, long term efforts have been ongoing to expand and protect grassland habitat at the McGuire Airfield. So far, roughly 600 acres have been restored to native warm season grasses with another 100 acres to be completed by next spring. The planting of species like little bluestem, sideoats grama, and blue grama has helped to create grassland bird nesting habitat. Grassland bird surveys are conducted each summer to monitor success of species like upland sandpiper and bobolink.

Additionally, a multiphase mammal inventory started this year to determine species diversity and densities at the Lakehurst portion of JB MDL. Cameras were placed strategically in different habitats and set to take a mix of photos and videos throughout the day and night to capture both diurnal and nocturnal species. An interesting array of mammals were visually captured including deer, coyote, opossum, and most notably a grey fox. Bat species were surveyed in previous years at JB MDL and several endangered myotis species were identified.

Cameras captured a gray fox.

Most recently, CWF biologist Meaghan Lyon assisted on Arogos Skipper surveys at JB MDL. An incredibly difficult species to identify in the field, this state endangered butterfly species has seen major declines over the past 20 years. What is unique about the JB MDL and other pinelands populations are the plants these skippers are feeding on – the Pine barrens reed grass. Within the historic range, very few, if any, Arogos Skippers have been found and JB MDL surveys have seen a similar pattern.

Camera footage captured a coyote carrying prey.

In the coming months, CWF will be conducting a year-round forest bird survey throughout the JB MDL to determine the presence and seasonal fluctuation of birds like warblers, vireos, tanagers, thrushes, woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, kinglets, jays, and many more. Stay tuned for seasonal updates on our surveys throughout the year.

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2 Responses to “JB MDL Military Conservation Partnership Award & CWF Projects”

  1. Freda Karpf says:

    this is good news and hopeful. learning about Arogos Skipper also brings concern but the work CWF is doing matches that with hope. thank you.

  2. Kelvin says:

    Got questions after you finish the survey? Fresh off six years as Community Liaison on the Middlebury Bridge & Rail Project, Jim Gish has been hired in a similar capacity for this phase of the VT 22A project and he is looking forward to hearing from you.