Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey Audubon’

Be the Disturbance You Wish to See in the Wetland

Friday, July 19th, 2024

by Christine Healy, Wildlife Biologist

Since 2021, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) has been partnering with New Jersey Audubon (NJA), New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and New Jersey Fish and Wildlife (NJFW) on bog turtle conservation in Salem County. Though densities in the southern part of the state are understood to be lower than in north Jersey, conserving this metapopulation is a priority as bog turtle numbers continue to decline despite long-term state (endangered since 1974) and federal (threatened since 1997) protections. A primary driver of this decline is habitat loss- but not necessarily in the way you might expect. The shift in plant communities- from grasslands to forests- occurs naturally over time. We call this process “succession”, and it can be both a gift and a curse. 

Under normal circumstances, Mother Nature sometimes throws a wrench in the plans of mid- and late-successional species (like oaks and maples, respectively), in the form of disturbances. Beaver activity may cause flooding that inhibits tree growth. Natural fires in healthy forests can thin trees enabling the understory to receive enough sunlight to persist. These burn slower and cooler than wildfires. Some trees, like the longleaf pine in the southern US, even require fire in order to rejuvenate. In some cases, large mammals may eat or break saplings before they have a chance to establish. This apparent “destruction” is actually a good thing- disturbances like these are why we have meadows and prairies. A mosaic of habitat types that run the spectrum of open wetlands to old-growth forest, is key to a high diversity of wildlife. 


A Resilient Shoreline in Stone Harbor for Birds and People

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
Conservation Partners Collaborate to Improve Beach Habitat for Birds and Provide Flood Protection for Stone Harbor Residents

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Oystercatchers © Dr. Larry Niles

Oystercatchers © Dr. Larry Niles

Beach nesting birds and New Jerseyans who live along the coast both depend on a resilient shoreline — and plenty of sand.


This season, thanks to a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (through their Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Grants Program), a team led by New Jersey Audubon worked with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, The Wetlands Institute, New Jersey Division of Environmental Protection, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to make the beach community of Stone Harbor Point more resilient for birds and people alike.


Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey collaborated with New Jersey Audubon to improve beach habitat for Piping Plovers (endangered in New Jersey), American Oystercatchers and the colonially nesting Least Terns and Black Skimmers. Sand from the southernmost tip of the point was moved to create three areas of higher elevation. The new landscape is expected to benefit Red Knots, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Sanderlings, Semipalmated Plovers, Black-bellied Plovers and others.


Stone Harbor, a small beach town along the New Jersey shoreline will see added coastal resiliency benefits and flood protection due to this innovative project that combined the needs for shorebirds with the needs for shore residents. The Stone Harbor project also included the construction of a wide berm of sand near the beachfront parking lot at the far south end of the town. This aspect of the projects aims to increase flood protection for the residents on the developed area of the island.


Learn more about this project on New Jersey Audubon’s blog and in the article “Working for the Birds.”


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is a non-profit organization created by Congress to preserve and restore our nation’s native wildlife species and habitats. NFWF is one of the largest funders of wildlife conservation in the world. They fund science-based projects and community-driven solutions.


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