Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Barnegat Light’

Barnegat Light Habitat Restoration gets a “Touch-up”

Thursday, February 4th, 2021

by Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist

A bulldozer trims back vegetation as a part of maintenance at the Barnegat Light Habitat Restoration site.

Even though all the major construction at our Barnegat Light Habitat Restoration site was complete over the past two winters, CWF returned in January 2021 to help oversee a “touch up”.  Beach nesting birds, such as piping plovers, prefer open, lightly vegetated beaches to nest, and in two years the vegetation had filled in quickly at the site. Using a bulldozer, the thicker vegetation was trimmed back or as the machine operator said, we gave it a “haircut”.

At the same time, the shallow edges of the foraging pond were enhanced. The pond, in particular a portion engineered to mimic “foraging flats”, was a key part of the success of piping plovers during the 2020 breeding season. We were able to expand that feature in hopes of providing even more high value foraging opportunities in years to come.

Initial construction was obviously the most important step to make this long-anticipated project a reality, but ongoing maintenance is an important part of any restoration, as habitat, especially in the dynamic coastal zone, rarely remains static. Still, follow-up maintenance is often overlooked or underfunded, but we know it will be absolutely critical as a long-term measure at Barnegat Light to sustain quality nesting habitat and high reproductive success.

The work this winter was done in tandem with Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, our primary technical partner on the project. A special thanks to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Philadelphia District for funding and facilitating the maintenance construction. We also greatly appreciate the ongoing partnership on this project of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – New Jersey Field Office and State of New Jersey’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program.

Todd Pover is a biologist with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Beach Restoration Project Shows Promise for Piping Plovers at Barnegat Light

Saturday, July 4th, 2020
Piping plover chick feeding at the restoration-created pond.  Photo courtesy of Northside Jim.

Last winter the Conserve Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with Rutgers University, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, and New Jersey Fish & Wildlife’s Endangered and Non-Game Species Program, completed the final stages of a beach restoration project in Barnegat Light State Park.

The project, which broke ground the winter before last, aimed to create more ideal habitat for the endangered piping plover away from human disturbance at Barnegat Light’s more recreationally busy beaches. This was accomplished by removing vegetation, grading dunes to be more suitable for nesting, and creating alternative feeding sites (i.e. ephemeral pools).

Now, with the beach nesting bird season at its peak and the final stages of the project complete, we can start to assess the effectiveness of the work that has been done.


Photo from the Field: Saving Osprey Nest #3591

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Boaters urged to not approach active osprey nest inside Barnegat Inlet
by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Osprey Nest #3591

Osprey Nest #3591

Yesterday, while working on Barnegat Bay, we visited this natural nest that is behind the dyke inside Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. This is the third time we’ve passed by to monitor their success. So far, so good and it looks like they now have young in the nest. As you can see the nest is built in a precarious location on a sandbar. When the sandbar is exposed people can walk right up to the nest. Last year the pair did not raise young but people did still walk up to the nest. With young, the adults will be more defensive of their nest to protect their young.


Photo from the Field

Monday, June 13th, 2011
Stranded osprey gets helping hand

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

I’ve been off work for the past week to spend some time with the newest member of my family, Reed Alexander Wurst. I was planning on heading into the office today to play catch up with a lot of projects that I’ve involved with (having a baby during field season is definitely keeping me busy!). So I started the day by opening up my laptop to download the 90+ emails I’ve gotten in the past week. As I sat down for some breakfast I saw an email from a woman where the subject said “Osprey on our Sailboat and we need help!” Immediately after I saw that I thought, there goes heading into the office… The woman who contacted me was Melissa, who was living on her sailboat that was moored in the harbor at Barnegat Light (BL). She sent me an image and this is what she wrote:

“We read your story in the SandPaper so are contacting you about this situation.

We heard a loud noise around 1am and when we looked with the flashlight we saw this osprey. It tried to fly up and out w/o success and now that it’s light we can see blood and it’s appears that his/her wing is injured.

We are anchored at Barnegat Light across from the town boat ramp. Our boat is Piscator and is the 32′ white and green double-ender.

We have no way to deal with handling this osprey, so really need help!! “

An injured osprey on the deck of s/v Piscator in Barnegat Light, NJ. © Ben Wurst

I called Melissa and I headed up to BL. I met John at the boat ramp and we rode out to the s/v Piscator in his dingy. After the short ride I saw that that osprey had a fracture to it’s left wing in the carpal (wrist) joint. I carefully collected the osprey and saw that she was banded. I looked up the band (788-49090) and she was banded in Sandy Hook on June 30, 2009. This would be her first year back from her wintering areas to breed in New Jersey. Ospreys spend two years after fledging in their wintering areas. One positive aspect is that most two year old birds do not raise young their first year after returning to nest in areas where they originated. So, no young ospreys are dieing b/c of her injury.

I then called Don Bonica with Toms River Avian Care and transported the osprey to Barnegat Animal Clinic where it would temporarily stay. I don’t know if it will heal from its wounds. Ospreys don’t do well in captivity or in rehabilitation settings. I can only hope that its fracture is minor and that it heals quickly!

Melissa knew who to contact after reading a story about my work with ospreys in New Jersey, especially the B. Bay Watershed in The Sandpaper. The story is viewable online until Wednesday, June 15th.