Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Seabeach Amaranth’ Category

Reflecting on a Year of Growth for Seabeach Amaranth

Wednesday, August 16th, 2023

by Sherry Tirgrath, Wildlife Biologist

The population of seabeach amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus) in New Jersey has continued its upward trend for the 2023 season, marking another successful year of protecting the rare and vulnerable plant. Since 2019, CWF has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – NJ Field Office (USFWS-NJFO) in monitoring and managing the state’s population of seabeach amaranth (SBA), a federally-threatened and state-endangered coastal plant. The number of SBA in the state fluctuates each year but suffered tremendously in the past due to coastal erosion, habitat loss, and disturbances from recreational use and municipal beach management. For 87 years, from 1913 until 2000, the species wasn’t seen in New Jersey. Plants have started rebounding on certain beaches in recent years, with numbers now in the thousands.

Seabeach amaranth beginning to bud

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.


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.