Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey Audubon Society’

Giving the Federally Endangered Bog Turtle a Fighting Chance in New Jersey

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
Coalition of Agencies Working Together to Enhance Turtle Habitat in Sussex County

by Kelly Triece, Biologist

Bog Turtle photo by Brian Zarate, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife

Bog Turtle photo by Brian Zarate, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife

Through federal partnerships and incentive programs, the federally endangered bog turtle can have a fighting chance in New Jersey! The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in partnership with Conserve Wildlife Foundation, New Jersey Audubon Society, and Wallkill River Watershed Management Group, are currently working to restore a once natural wetland on private property in Sussex County. The program is possible through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, Wetlands Reserve Easement (WRE). WRE is a voluntary program that provides an opportunity for landowners to receive financial assistance in exchange for permanently protecting retired agricultural land. In their first year, NRCS and USFWS helped to restore and protect 52 acres of bog turtle habitat in New Jersey!


The goal of this project is to restore hydrology, enhance bog turtle habitat, control invasive species, and stabilize the stream bank. Through the partnerships we have already planted riparian buffers along the river and plan to conduct invasive species removal and create shallow water pools for wildlife such as amphibians.


The site contains active bog turtle habitat that has been degraded over time through grazing and other human induced impacts. Bog turtles are found throughout the state, but Sussex County is a hot spot because of its prime wetlands habitat. At the bog turtle site, cattle will be actively managed to graze the area for specific periods of time throughout the year. This will reduce invasive species and create mucky soils preferred by the bog turtle.


New Jersey Audubon Society was also able to supply a native sedge plant to enhance the wetland. Last week, a youth corps group from Phillipsburg, New Jersey met on site to help plant green bulrush. The bulrush will aid to improve water quality, as it will take up phosphorous and other nutrients moving into the water column. It will also aid to reduce erosion and provide food and cover for ducks, and other water birds. So far, 5,050 plugs of green bulrush have been planted!



CWF has also partnered on other Sussex County bog turtle restoration projects with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, USFWS, and the New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Program.

Learn More:


Kelly Triece is a Biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Help Golden-winged Warblers Thrive in Sparta Mountain WMA

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
Comments on the Sparta Mountain WMA Forest Stewardship Plan are due Tuesday, March 1, 2016

by Emily Hofmann, Environmental Education Intern

Photo by New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

Photo by New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

Wildlife in the Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) need your help! Submit your comments on the new Forest Stewardship Plan by Tuesday, March 1, 2016.


Conserve Wildlife Foundation supports the new Forest Stewardship Plan for the Sparta Mountain WMA located in Sparta Township, New Jersey. The original Forest Stewardship Plan was introduced in 2009. The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, in partnership with New Jersey Audubon, recently updated and expanded upon the plan. The new revisions show a commitment to creating healthier forest habitat for wildlife, while abiding by the strict guidelines provided by third-party certification, along with agency regulations.


The new ten-year Plan, drafted by New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and New Jersey Audubon Society, and conducted under an existing Forest Stewardship Plan for the wildlife area, will allow conservation actions to continue. The plan addresses the following key goals:

  • Improve the health, structure and diversity of the forests;
  • Create young forest habitat for birds and other wildlife that are of conservation concern;
  • Enhance foraging, nesting and roosting habitat for cavity dwelling birds and bats;
  • Suppress the spread of invasive species;
  • May provide basking habitat for turtles;
  • Protect and maintain views and vistas;
  • Improve passive recreational opportunities;
  • Protect water resources;
  • Monitor and evaluate stewardship activities


Kelly Triece, our Private Lands Biologist, has pointed out that 80% of New Jersey forests are currently between 60-99 years old, while only 5% of the forests are between 0-19 years old. CWF supports forest stewardship projects, like those presented in the new plan, that seek to even out this clear disparity and promote more diversity in age class of New Jersey forests. Increased diversity in forest age brings increased diversity in plant and animal species. This type of forest habitat has the potential to support over 125 bird species, including the Golden-winged Warbler.


Golden-winged Warbler. Photo by D. Kenny Golden.

Golden-winged Warbler. Photo by D. Kenny Golden.


The public comment period is an opportunity for you to support forest stewardship that will improve the health of the forest and create young forest habitat; essential for protecting the state endangered Golden-winged Warbler, as well as numerous other flora and fauna.


The Department of Environmental Protection needs to hear from you! To submit comments, visit DEP’s website. Provided below is a draft set of comments which you are welcome to use, as well as revise and submit. Remember, the deadline is Tuesday, March 1, 2016.


Learn More and Take Action:


Emily Hofmann is the Environmental Education Intern for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Suggested text:

To the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection,

Please accept the following comments in support of adoption and implementation of the Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area Forest Stewardship plan. This new plan builds on an existing plan that has been under implementation for several years. The new plan seeks to addresses the long-term health of the forest and the critically important lack of young forest habitat by working to create new young forest habitat patches over the next ten years. In addition, the plan includes explicit goals to protect and enhance hydrologic resources, monitoring of priority wildlife populations, provide compatible wildlife recreational opportunities and adherence to strict third party certification principles and criteria. This plan is important because the resident and migratory birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians that rely on young forest habitat are struggling to maintain themselves in places they were once commonly found. Throughout the Northeast, young forest habitat has diminished as forestland has been converted to development and abandoned farms and homesteads have matured to woodlands. As a consequence, a wide variety of wildlife have experienced the loss of the scrubby, patchy, disturbed portions of the forest that they rely on for food and cover.

The plan was developed based upon an understanding of the needs of wildlife in the Highlands Region and with a specific focus on ensuring that forest health is improved. The plan authors thoroughly reviewed the history of the region, considered the important water resources of Sparta Mountain, evaluated wildlife needs, recreational desires and community connections, and brought all of this together with a keen eye toward improving the health and vigor of the forest. The plan has gone through an extensive review by experts at the Department of Environmental Protection, has taken input from a wide-range of stakeholders and meets the requirements of a third party certification system. The plan is appropriate and needed given the mission of the NJ DEP and the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, the agency charged with management of the wildlife area and conserving wildlife. I encourage the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt and implement the Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area Forest Stewardship Plan.

Stream Restoration for New Jersey Native Trout

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016
Protecting the Eastern Brook Trout, New Jersey’s only Native Trout Species

by Kelly Triece, Private Lands Biologist

Eastern Brook Trout, New Jersey’s only native trout. Photo by

Eastern Brook Trout, New Jersey’s only native trout. Photo by

Anyone already planning their fishing trip to their favorite stream this spring? Sunshine and cool refreshing streams will be here before you know it!


Streams and rivers are an essential part of our ecosystem, providing food, shelter and breeding grounds for hundreds of New Jersey native wildlife, as well as providing water for human use. These wildlife include, macro-invertebrates, reptiles, birds and fish such as the Eastern brook trout.  The Eastern brook trout is valued for its beauty, sport-fish qualities and is an indicator of the health of our watershed. It is also the only native trout species in New Jersey, but is unfortunately threatened by urbanization and dense road networks which contribute to sedimentation, warmer waters and pollution.


This past year, CWF biologists along with our partner agency USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have been working in conjunction with New Jersey Audubon Society to improve stream habitat throughout about 5,000 feet of the Musconetcong River. The Musconetcong River currently supports brown trout, and through restoration of the watershed it has the ability to support Eastern brook trout as well.


In order to restore the reach of the Musconetcong River, pool and riffle sequences were created and deep pools and point bars were established in the stream channel. These restoration techniques provide spawning habitat for trout, as well as benefit the organisms they depend on for food. Furthermore, the restoration of appropriate channel morphology helps to create a healthy riparian zone through the enhancement of flood plain connectivity.


CWF and USDA-NRCS continue to work with farmers and other landowners to plant stream-side shrubs and trees, fence livestock out of waterways, remove dams and use less pesticides in order to promote healthy watersheds. These practices will not only help prevent pollutants from reaching our waterways, but they will help maintain functioning ecosystems that will digest and filter pathogens and sediment. This collective effort by local land managers and landowners will enable us to protect human health, assure clean water and preserve our quality of life for generations to come.


Learn More:

  • To learn more about our stream restoration work, contact Kelly Triece.


Kelly Triece is the Private Lands Biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Providing Young Forest Habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler

Friday, December 11th, 2015
CWF and partners have created or restored over 225 acres of Golden-winged warbler habitat in New Jersey since 2012

 by Kelly Triece, Private Lands Biologist

Golden Winged Warbler. Photo by D. Kenny.

Golden Winged Warbler. Photo by D. Kenny.

Take a look at this Golden-winged warbler — a Neotropical Migrant songbird that breeds in New Jersey. This songbird is a species of special conservation concern in the United States and endangered in New Jersey, experiencing population declines due to loss of young forest habitat.

Did you know? In the past 30 years, over 11,000 acres of upland shrub and emergent wetland habitat have been lost to succession in New Jersey. This habitat is important for Golden-winged warblers because it is their primary breeding habitat. Fortunately, their secondary habitat, upland forests, have remained stable in the state.


Therefore, it has been the goal of many wildlife management agencies to continue to create young forest habitat, while protecting upland forests as well.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation and our partners (Natural Resources Conservation Service, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and New Jersey Audubon Society), have worked with private landowners to create or restore over 225 acres of Golden-winged warbler habitat since 2012 in New Jersey.


Our managed forests have a statistically significant higher diversity of birds than unmanaged sites!

Young forest habitat managed for Golden-winged Warbler. Photo by Kelly Triece.

Young forest habitat managed for Golden-winged warbler. Photo by Kelly Triece.

Young forest habitat, also known as scrub-shrub habitat, is new or regenerating forest that is less than 20 years old. Young forest habitat is important for many birds, especially the Golden-winged warbler. The open canopy of a young forest also helps provide food such as berries and insects to newly fledged birds, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, reptiles, black bears, bobcats, and butterflies.


Golden-winged warbler home range

Golden-winged warbler home range

The breeding range of the Golden-winged warbler extends along the Appalachians from the northern portion of Georgia in the south to Vermont in the north. The winter range for this species is southern Mexico and Central and South America.


Follow us in February 2016 when biologist Kelly Triece travels to Honduras to see the Golden-winged Warbler in its winter habitat!


Learn more and get involved:



Kelly Triece is the Private Lands Biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Meet the 2015 Honorees: Tanya Oznowich, Women & Wildlife Education Award Winner

Friday, October 2nd, 2015
Ms. Oznowich Recognized for Championing Environmental Education in New Jersey for Over Three Decades

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Tanya Oznowich, 2015 Education Award Winner

Tanya Oznowich, 2015 Education Award Winner

Schools across New Jersey are incorporating environmental education into their curriculum, a new movement inspired by a growing awareness of environmental issues and our shared role in understanding and resolving them. To a large degree, this growing prominence is thanks to Tanya Oznowich, Environmental Education Supervisor of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, who has championed environmental education for over three decades.


Ms. Oznowich earned her Bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation/Interpretive Sciences from Slippery Rock University in 1981 and her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Delaware Valley College in 2004. She has been engaging the public in natural resources since 1979. Since beginning her tenure with the NJDEP in 1988, she has dedicated herself to integrating environmental science into New Jersey’s classrooms, from kindergarten to college.


In addition to her role as a program developer, Ms. Oznowich is also a workshop facilitator, public speaker, environmental educator, and a grant writer. For her accomplishments in bringing environmental education to so many classrooms and communities, she has been honored by numerous state and non-profit agencies, including the New Jersey Education Association, New Jersey Audubon Society, and the New Jersey Chapter of the Society for Women in Environmental Professions.


Join us to honor Tanya and the two other 2015 Women & Wildlife Award Winners on Wednesday, October 28 beginning at 6pm. Purchase events tickets and find more information.

We asked Tanya a few questions about what working in environmental education means to her:


Name one thing you can’t live without.

I cannot live without experiencing nature. To see and smell it, listen to it, explore it in different seasons, different types of weather and different times of day and night; to walk, drive, paddle, sit or sleep in it. It is soothing, intriguing and invigorating. In it I find my God and my truest self.


What do you find most challenging about your profession?

In social studies elementary students learn about home, community and responsibility. In science they learn about the basic needs of animals and plants and the life-sustaining connections that we have with water, air, shelter, energy and land; then, the depth and breadth of what students must know and be able to do swallow these up. We each have an intimate relationship with our surroundings – we each are part of the Earth’s natural systems. This is our common ground and it beckons us to act as “we” societies instead of “me” individuals. I am grateful that green practices and sustainability have entered our worlds of education, business, development and government; our relationship with Earth systems must be considered and understood in all we do.


What motivates you to get out of bed each morning and go to work?

I have always been driven by passion and commitment but this is now fueled by excitement. I believe that education about the environment is a necessity. Is it becoming more common in New Jersey schools? Yes! There are increasing examples of it to being woven into science, social studies, health, the arts – all subjects and all grades. Many schools offer specialized courses and utilize outdoor classrooms, gardens, stewardship and citizen science projects. We have growing programs for green schools, eco-schools, healthy schools, urban schools and sustainable schools. Colleges and universities are pursuing similar initiatives and sustainability programs for businesses, municipalities and faith-based organizations are on the rise; and, nature-based pursuits are doing battle with our uses of technology. Do we still have barriers, challenges and needs to confront? Yes; but our environmental education efforts are taking hold and producing results, and the push for sustainability is strong.


Number one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to change the world.

Embrace the value of what you believe in, determine a course of action, and then begin; as Nike says, “Just Do It.”


What interests you the most about New Jersey wildlife?

Watching wildlife fascinates me and I love to sit still and quiet in nature to wait, watch and listen for the wildlife that eventually creeps, crawls, flies or swims by me. I love to look under rocks and logs and collect bugs from streams; to examine nests and tracks and turn over the soil to see what moves. What interests me most about wildlife is that wildlife captivates people of all ages. For many of us, they are the ambassadors to nature. I admire and appreciate the work of New Jersey’s wildlife experts who have the passion and commitment to study, protect and manage our diverse wildlife populations.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey to honor the contributions that Tanya Oznowich, Pat Hamilton, and MacKenzie Hall have made to wildlife in New Jersey.


This year’s very special event will feature keynote speaker Governor Christine Todd Whitman. The event will also celebrate CWF’s past decade of honoring women for their success in protecting, managing, restoring, and raising awareness for the Garden State’s endangered and threatened wildlife species.


Learn more:


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