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Public Board / Environmental Issues / Cessation of Coal Use at PA Power Plant Improving Air Quality in New
on: May 16, 2013, 05:27:15 AM
(13/P54) TRENTON— The Christie Administration has secured an agreement that will result in the permanent cessation of the use of coal at GenOn REMA’s Portland, Pennsylvania power plant, resulting in cleaner air for New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
“This is a tremendous win for cleaner air and better health for the residents of New Jersey,” Commissioner Martin said. “For too long, the coal-fired generators at this power plant emitted levels of sulfur dioxide and other pollutants at levels that were unhealthy for our residents. That’s why the Christie Administration took aggressive action very early on to force significant reductions in pollution levels from the power plant.”
The plant for years spewed high levels of sulfur dioxide and other pollutants across the Delaware River into Warren County and other parts of northern New Jersey.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in October 2011 granted New Jersey’s Section 126 petition seeking dramatic reductions of air emissions from the Portland Generating Station, located in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. This was the first single-source 126 Petition the EPA has ever granted under the Clean Air Act, and the first time it has granted a petition for a power plant bordering another state. The power plant must meet pollution reduction limits set by the EPA as a result of this petition until the coal units are permanently retired.
Commissioner Martin noted that the DEP did not call for closure of the coal units at Portland but suggested installation of currently available air pollution controls, including a scrubber.
In its petition acceptance, EPA required the power plant to reduce SO2 emissions by 60 percent within one year, and by 81 percent within three years. EPA provided the power plant with flexibility to choose the most cost-effective strategy for meeting these limits, including installing proven and widely available pollution control technologies.
Under terms of the settlement agreement reached by attorneys from the Division of Law within the New Jersey Attorney General's Office on behalf of the DEP, New Jersey and Connecticut reserved the right to seek $1 million for environmental mitigation projects or the surrender of sulfur-dioxide allowances that are permitted under federal law. The consent decree formalizing the agreement was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2), mercury and many other contaminants emitted into the air from this facility are carried in the atmosphere across the Delaware River to communities in Warren County, and also negatively impact air quality in Morris, Sussex and Hunterdon counties.
The DEP’s air monitoring station in Knowlton Township, Warren County, which is one mile from the Portland power plant, has measured the highest short-term sulfur dioxide levels in all of New Jersey, due to pollution emanating from the Portland generating station. The sulfur dioxide coming from the plant is known to contribute to a variety of adverse health effects, including asthma and respiratory failure, and environmental impacts such as acid rain.
The air pollution from this plant, however, is not limited to sulfur dioxide. The plant also emits high levels of nitrogen oxides, mercury, hydrochloric acid, lead and other air pollutants, including fine sulfate particles that travel on the wind throughout northern New Jersey, and to New York, Connecticut and beyond.
For a copy of the consent decree, visit: http://nj.gov/dep/docs/genon_consentdecree.pdf
For a copy of the lodging notice for the consent decree, visit: http://nj.gov/dep/docs/genon_noticelodging.pdf
For more information on the DEP’s efforts regarding the Clean Air Act Section 126 Petition, including a fact sheet, map, charts, and a photo of the Portland plant, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/portland.html
Public Board / Environmental Issues / Tips to Reduce Conflicts and Encounters with Bears
on: May 09, 2013, 05:25:21 AM
TIPS TO REDUCE CONFLICTS AND ENCOUNTERS WITH BEARS DURING ACTIVE SPRING PERIOD
(13/P49) TRENTON - Black bears have emerged from winter dens and are entering their most active period of the year in search of food and mates, which makes encounters with humans in populated areas more likely. Even though overall bear sightings and encounters are declining again this year, New Jersey residents, particularly those living in “bear country’’ in northwest New Jersey, are advised to take a few simple precautions this spring to reduce the risk of potential encounters.
“The Christie Administration’s Comprehensive Black Bear Management Plan, aimed at reducing bear-human encounters through a mix of education, research and monitoring, trash management and an annual bear hunt, is proving to be effective. Black bear sighting and incidents, which dropped last year, are down substantially again this year,’’ said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin.
“But even with this initial success, state residents can further reduce the risk of interactions with bears this spring by taking a few commonsense steps. Most importantly, do not feed bears, either intentionally or unintentionally,” added Commissioner Martin.
Bears that learn to associate food with people, and their homes and living areas, can turn into nuisance bears that regularly forage in neighborhoods looking for easy sources of food. The result is sometimes troubling bear-human encounters.
It is illegal to intentionally feed black bears in New Jersey and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 per offense. But the more common problem is unintentional bear feeding by homeowners who unknowingly make household trash, pet foods and other food sources easily available for bears to find and eat.
“Securing your trash and eliminating obvious sources of food for bears, such as pet food left on decks, bird feeders or food residues left in barbecue grills, is the best way to keep bears from being attracted to your home or property,” said David Chanda, director of the State Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Bears have been sighted in all 21 New Jersey counties, and bear-human encounters have occurred a bit more frequently in recent years in places outside of traditional bear country, including more heavily populated suburban areas of the state.
To deal with that issue, a New Jersey Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy was developed by the state’s Fish and Game Council and approved by Commissioner Martin. Results of that policy over its first three years have been a reduction in bear sightings and damage and complaints filed by residents. As part of that policy, biologists continue to actively study, monitor and manage the state’s black bear population to ensure the bear population remains healthy, and to reduce negative encounters between bears and people.
DEP wildlife experts stress that a black bear passing through a residential area should not be considered a problem, as long as it is behaving normally and not posing a threat. They offer the following tips to minimize conflicts with bears this spring:
• Use certified bear-resistant garbage containers if possible. Otherwise, store all garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids and place them along the inside walls of your garage, or in the basement, a sturdy shed or other secure area.
• Wash garbage containers frequently with a disinfectant solution to remove odors. Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before.
• Avoid feeding birds when bears are active. If you choose to feed birds, do so during daylight hours only and bring feeders indoors at night. Suspend birdfeeders from a free-hanging wire, making sure they are at least 10 feet off the ground. Clean up spilled seeds and shells daily.
• Immediately remove all uneaten food and food bowls used by pets fed outdoors.
• Clean outdoor grills and utensils to remove food and grease residue to minimize odors. Store grills securely.
• Do not place meat or any sweet foods in compost piles.
• Remove fruit or nuts that fall from trees in your yard.
• Properly installed electric fencing is an effective way of protecting crops, beehives and livestock.
• If you encounter a bear remain calm and do not run. Make sure the bear has an escape route. Avoid direct eye contact, back up slowly and speak with a low, assertive voice.
Report bear damage, nuisance behavior or aggressive bears to the Wildlife Control Unit of the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife at (908) 735-8793. During evenings and weekends, residents should call their local police department or the DEP Hotline at (877) WARN-DEP.
To learn more about New Jersey’s black bears and ways to avoid problems with them, visit http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/bearfacts_education.htm
Public Board / Field Trip and Other Reports / Baldpate Mt - 05/07/13 (Sharyn Magee)
on: May 07, 2013, 06:47:07 PM
Baldpate Mt, Mercer, US-NJ
May 7, 2013 6:52 AM - 2:09 PM
48 species (+1 other taxa)
Black Vulture 1
Turkey Vulture 3
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker 7
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 6
Pileated Woodpecker 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 4
White-eyed Vireo 5
Yellow-throated Vireo 3
Red-eyed Vireo 9
Blue Jay 12
American Crow 2
Carolina/Black-capped Chickadee 4 Male sang BCCH song.
Tufted Titmouse 13
White-breasted Nuthatch 4
House Wren 2
Carolina Wren 10
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Wood Thrush 25
American Robin 4
Gray Catbird 24
Northern Mockingbird 1
Worm-eating Warbler 6
Louisiana Waterthrush 1
Blue-winged Warbler 6
Black-and-white Warbler 6
Kentucky Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 48
Hooded Warbler 11
American Redstart 6
Yellow Warbler 12
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 1
Prairie Warbler 2
Yellow-breasted Chat 1
Eastern Towhee 39
Chipping Sparrow 3
Field Sparrow 5
Song Sparrow 2
Scarlet Tanager 17
Northern Cardinal 9
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 3
Brown-headed Cowbird 7
Baltimore Oriole 5
American Goldfinch 1
Top: Worm-eating Warbler
Bottom: Louisiana Waterthrush
Public Board / Field Trip and Other Reports / Garret Mountain Reservation - 05/04/13 (Sharyn Magee)
on: May 07, 2013, 06:38:48 PM
Location: Garret Mountain Reservation, Passaic, US-NJ
Date/Time: May 4, 2013 7:09 AM - 9:35 AM
Compiler: Sharyn Magee
Count: 29 species
Canada Goose 4
Green Heron 1
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Mourning Dove 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Warbling Vireo 3
Blue Jay 1
Tree Swallow 1
Tufted Titmouse 1
Carolina Wren 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
American Robin 13
Brown Thrasher 4
Black-and-white Warbler 3
Northern Parula 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Palm Warbler (Yellow) 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 2
Eastern Towhee 3
Chipping Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 14
Brown-headed Cowbird 5
Baltimore Oriole 1
American Goldfinch 2
Public Board / Environmental Issues / Remove Standing Water on Property to Reduce Mosquito Population
on: May 07, 2013, 08:40:13 AM
Christie Administration Encourages Residents to Remove Standing Water on Property to Reduce Mosquito Population
(13/P47) TRENTON - To prevent mosquitoes this summer, the Departments of Health and Environmental Protection are asking homeowners, businesses and contractors working on rebuilding to drain sources of standing water outdoors and routinely check property for containers collecting water where mosquitoes can breed.
“While we typically don’t identify human illnesses from mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV) until late summer here in New Jersey, it’s never too early to drain sources of standing water and reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed,” said Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd.
Last year, New Jersey had the largest amount of human cases on record in the state—48 human cases of WNV. Concerns are elevated this year because of Superstorm Sandy has increased potential opportunities for mosquito breeding, which could increase the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, including WNV.
“This season will be especially challenging because Superstorm Sandy has created new places for mosquitoes to breed such as wet debris piles and depressions left by fallen trees,” the Commissioner explained. “It’s important to remove or clean or repair anything that can collect rain or sprinkler water – such as debris, clogged or damaged gutters or old car tires.”
Steps that residents, business owners and contractors can take to reduce populations of the insect on their properties include:
• At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans
• Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out
• Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water
• Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home
“Mosquito control agencies in coastal counties are doing their best to treat sources of standing water caused by Sandy,” said Claudia O’Malley, principal biologist in the DEP’s Office of Mosquito Control. “However, many of these sources are in places that are hard to reach, such as marshes or coastal forests, so it is even more important that homeowners do their part to offset a potential increase in mosquito breeding. Look very carefully around your property for anything that could hold water in which mosquitos can lay eggs. If you are starting to rebuild, make sure standing water is not collecting on tarps or in any receptacles.
Additional tips on how to limit mosquitoes on your property include:
• Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property
• Drill holes in the bottom and elevate recycling containers that are left outdoors
• Repair and clean storm-damaged roof gutters, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season
• Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use
• Turn over wheelbarrows and do not allow water to stagnate in bird baths
• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens are fashionable but become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, including those that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers
• Repair and maintain barriers, such as window and door screens, to prevent mosquitoes from entering buildings. Barriers over rain barrels or cistern and septic pipes will deny female mosquitoes the opportunity to lay eggs on water
If you have problems controlling mosquitoes, contact your county mosquito control agency by calling 1-888-NO-NJ WNV
WNV is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms of more serious illness include severe headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. The elderly and immune-compromised are at higher risk of more severe disease.
As part of surveillance activities, the Department of Health’s Public Health Environmental Laboratory this month began testing dead crows, blue jays and other select bird species, which serve as indicators of West Nile virus activity. Residents who encounter dead or ill birds should call their local health department for specific instructions for storage if the dead bird is suitable for testing. When handling a dead bird or animal for disposal, use gloves and carefully place the bird in double-plastic bags.
New Jersey's WNV surveillance, control, and prevention activities involve the coordinated efforts of a number of federal, state and local agencies. These include the Department of Health, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Mosquito Control Commission, the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology, and local health and mosquito control agencies.
For more information on WNV and New Jersey's efforts to limit its impact, visit the Department of Health’s West Nile web page at http://nj.gov/health/cd/westnile/index.shtml
, the Department of Environmental Protection’s web page at http://www.nj.gov/dep/mosquito
or call 1-888-NO-NJ WNV.
Public Board / Environmental Issues / NJ Fertilizer Law to Reduce Runoff Impacts
on: April 22, 2013, 06:12:05 AM
CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION FULLY IMPLEMENTS LANDMARK FERTILIZER LAW TO REDUCE POLLUTION AND KEEP WATERWAYS CLEAN
Law is Part of Governor Christie’s Barnegat Bay Action Plan
(13/P38) TRENTON — The Christie Administration’s law aimed at reducing pollution from lawn fertilizers is now being fully implemented this lawn care season, with reformulated products designed to reduce environmental impacts now available through stores and suppliers across New Jersey.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is encouraging residents as they clean out flower beds, spread mulch and tune up mowers this spring to take a few minutes to become knowledgeable about the reformulated fertilizers and learn how to take other steps to reduce the impacts of poor lawn care practices on the environment.
The first phase of the fertilizer law, signed by Governor Christie on January 5, 2011 as part of his Comprehensive Barnegat Bay Action Plan, required the use of best management practices to reduce the impacts of fertilizers on waterways and development of public outreach. The second phase initiated the creation of a certification program for professional fertilizer applicators and lawn care providers.
Now the third phase has kicked in, with manufacturers providing fertilizers with reduced nitrogen and zero phosphorous content for use in most typical lawn care situations. There are exceptions, including when establishing or repairing turf or when a soil test indicates the need for phosphorous. The law applies only to lawn fertilizers, not those used in gardens.
“The sale and use of reformulated lawn fertilizer products is now mandatory throughout the state,” said Michele Siekerka, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Water Resource Management. “These products are better for the environment and are still good for your lawn. Using them and using them properly is the responsible thing to do.”
Nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients required for plant growth. A limited amount of these nutrients is important for healthy plant life. An overabundance, however, can be unhealthy for lawns. These nutrients when carried by storm water into lakes, rivers and streams, can stimulate excessive algae and aquatic weed growth, reducing dissolved oxygen and sunlight needed for healthy aquatic life.
“Now is a good time to assess all of your spring gardening practices, including looking for ways to reduce the amount of chemicals you use in your yard and exploring ways, such as using drought-tolerant plants, to reduce water use,” Assistant Commissioner Siekerka said. “As residents rebuild from Superstorm Sandy, now is a good time to consider replacing your traditional lawn with native, drought-tolerant plants.”
Here are some helpful tips:
• Read fertilizer labels. All fertilizer products for turf must contain at least 20 percent slow-release nitrogen and zero percent phosphorus, unless a soil test demonstrates a need for more. Check the first and second number on the package for nitrogen and phosphate content (formula 26-0-3 for example, means no phosphate).
• Hiring a certified fertilizer applicator can help ensure the proper use of fertilizers. All professional fertilizer applicators and lawn care providers are now required to undergo training and become certified through the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University.
• If you do apply fertilizer yourself, read and follow directions carefully. Use the proper spreader setting. Do not apply fertilizer if a heavy rain is expected. Sweep up excess fertilizer; and use proper fertilizing equipment. Additional information is available at the resource links provided below.
• Conserve water. Do not over water your lawn. Adjust sprinklers if water runs into the gutter. Water during cooler times of the day.
• Identify pests before spraying pesticides. Ask a specialist at your garden center for advice on how to treat for that specific pest. Use integrated pest management (IPM) methods to minimize chemical use in your garden. Many IPM methods do not even require the use of chemical pesticides.
• Reduce the amount of grass by planting ground cover. This reduces the need for fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
• Use natural pesticides such as milky spore and nematodes wherever possible. If you must use chemical pesticides, use them sparingly and in targeted areas.
• Have your lawn tested at the county Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension office to determine if you need to fertilize. If so, use natural and slow-release nitrogen fertilizers and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. Never apply to your lawn or garden if the weather calls for rain.
• Use a mulching mower instead of bagging grass clippings to reduce lawn wastes and to reduce the need for fertilizer. Do not put loose leaves or grass clippings in the street. Use them in a compost pile as a source for enriched soil. If you do need to dispose of leaves or grass clippings, contact your municipality to determine the appropriate method to dispose these wastes.
• If you must use herbicides, apply them directly to the weeds rather than broadcasting if possible. A healthy lawn will reduce weed growth.
• Use mulch on flower beds and gardens to prevent weeds from growing and to help absorb water.
• Use drought-resistant native plants in gardens and beds. These plants require less fertilizer and less water, thereby reducing the amount of potential polluted runoff.
“The DEP would like to recognize the members of the Healthy Lawns Healthy Waters Workgroup and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University for their continued cooperation, guidance and support with implementing the state’s new fertilizer law,’’ said Kerry Pflugh, Manager of DEP’s Office of Constituent Services.
“We also give two green thumbs up to the companies, fertilizer applicators, homeowners and property owners who are already complying with this law and helping to keep it green and keep it clean,” she said.
To learn more about New Jersey’s fertilizer law, including an explanation of exceptions, acceptable application rates, and acceptable application periods, go to www.nj.gov/dep/healthylawnshealthywater
To learn more about the new fertilizer law and its benefits, please visit: www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/plan-nutrientpollution.htm
To learn more about Governor Christie's Action Plan for Barnegat Bay, visit www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/
Public Board / Avian & Other Flying Animals / Ten Ways You Can Protect Birds This Spring
on: April 17, 2013, 06:29:13 PM
(Washington, D.C., April 9, 2013) As temperatures start to climb, birds begin their annual spring migration and also begin breeding. American Bird Conservancy (ABC) often gets asked, particularly during the spring, "How can I help the birds?" Here are the top ten things ABC recommends people do to aid or protect birds in their homes and yards.
According to Dr. George Fenwick, President of ABC, "Birds need help now more than ever. In addition to the ongoing threat of loss of habitat, staggering numbers of birds are directly killed due to a number of other human-related causes. Scientists estimate that 300 million to one billion birds die each year from collisions with buildings. Up to 50 million die from encounters with communication towers. Studies suggest that up to six million may die EACH DAY from attacks by cats left outdoors. These deaths occur year-round, but many occur during the peak spring and fall migrations. Some studies suggest that perhaps as many as half of all migrating birds do not make it back home, succumbing to various threats on either end of the journey."
TOP TEN WAYS TO HELP BIRDS THIS SPRING
1. Keep your cat indoors -This is best for your cat as well as for the birds, as indoor cats live an average of three to seven times longer. Domestic cats, which are not native to the United States, are an introduced predator against which birds have no defense. Cats are responsible for an estimated 2.4 billion bird deaths each year. Some species have gone extinct because of cats! Even well-fed cats instinctively kill birds, and bells on cats don't effectively warn birds of cat strikes. In the spring, young birds or nestlings often find themselves on the ground calling for a parent, only to end up attracting the fatal attention of a nearby cat. Because of this, studies show that bird mortality from cats in the spring is disproportionately higher when compared to other times of the year.
2. Prevent birds hitting your windows by using a variety of treatments to the glass on your home. Collisions with glass constitute a major source of bird mortality, with as many as one billion dying each year. See ABC's new flyer!
3. Eliminate pesticides from your yard-even those pesticides that are not directly toxic to birds can pollute waterways and reduce insects that birds rely on for food-and try to buy organic food to help reduce pesticide use on farms. For rodent control, seal cracks, remove food sources, and use snap and electric traps rather than rodenticides, which poison birds as well as young children. Learn more here.
4. Create backyard habitat-yards both large and small can benefit birds and other wildlife. Create a diverse landscape by planting native grasses, flowers, and shrubs that attract birds. You will be rewarded by their beauty and song, and will have fewer insect pests as a result.
5. Donate old bird-watching equipment such as binoculars or spotting scopes to local bird watching groups-they can get them to schools or biologists in other countries who may not have the resources they need. More people studying birds means more voices for bird conservation!
6. Reduce your carbon footprint-use a hand-pushed or electric lawnmower, carpool, and use low-energy bulbs and Energy Star appliances. Less energy used means less habitat destroyed for energy production.
7. Buy organic food and drink shade-grown coffee-increasing the market for produce grown without the use of pesticides, which can be toxic to birds and other animals, will reduce the use of these hazardous chemicals in the U.S. and overseas. Shade coffee farms have been demonstrated to provide far superior habitat for birds than coffee grown in open sun.
8. Keep feeders and bird baths clean and change the water regularly to avoid disease and prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
9. Support bird-friendly legislation-Example: HR 1643, a proposed bill that provides for bird-friendly federal buildings. Take a look at the ABC action center.
10. Join a bird conservation group such as ABC (click on ABC to learn how to join)-learn more about birds and support important conservation work. The upcoming issue of ABC's Bird Conservation magazine features migratory birds.
"Protecting and helping birds is not only the right thing to do, it is also good for the economy and the future of our environment. Birds are invaluable as controllers of insect pests, as pollinators of crops, and dispersers of native plant seeds, and they also generate tremendous economic revenues through the pastimes of bird feeding and bird watching," said Fenwick.
A federal government study reports that over 20 percent of the U.S. population - 48 million people - participates in bird watching. Of that total, about 42 percent (20 million people) actually travel to see birds. Birders spend about $36 billion annually in pursuit of their pastime. The top five bird watching states by percentage of total population are: Montana (40%); Maine (39%); Vermont (38%); Minnesota (33%); and Iowa (33%).
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Bob Johns
Public Board / Environmental Issues / State and Partners Working to Restore Beaches for Red Knots
on: April 01, 2013, 08:54:32 AM
(13/P29) TRENTON – Supported by grants from conservation groups, the Department of Environmental Protection and partners are working to re-establish Delaware Bay beaches that were eroded by Superstorm Sandy in an effort to restore critical feeding habitat for migrating shorebirds, in particular the state-endangered red knot.
The project is being conducted in two phases that together will address a large sweep of the bay shoreline in Cape May County from Moores Beach south to Pierces Point.
The first phase, currently under way, focuses on emergency, stop-gap restoration of beaches adjacent to creeks that provide critical shorebird feeding habitat for the upcoming spring migration. The second phase, to be conducted later this year, will focus on improving beaches by removing rubble, old pilings, bulkheads and abandoned structures for long-term habitat enhancement.
The partners are using grants from the nonprofit National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Community Foundation of New Jersey coupled with smaller grants from the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust and Corporate Wetlands Partnership to restore the beaches.
"The restoration of these beaches is a high ecological priority for the Christie Administration in the wake of Sandy and may prove critical to the success of this year's shorebird migration, especially the migration of endangered red knots," said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. "We are extremely grateful to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the New Jersey Recovery Fund for providing the grant funds and to all of our partners for carrying out this important work."
The DEP's Endangered and Nongame Species Program has coordinated many years of scientific research on shorebirds, working in partnership with a host of other environmental, educational and government agencies.
Work in the first phase of this project began March 18 and will likely continue throughout April. It is being carried out by a contractor for the nonprofit American Littoral Society. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provided a $415,000 grant to the Highlands-based nonprofit, which is working with the DEP's Endangered and Nongame Species Program, the Stone Harbor-based Wetlands Institute, the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, LJ Niles Associates, Dianne Daly CEP and Middle Township to restore the most critical beaches.
The New Jersey Recovery Fund, administered by the Community Foundation of New Jersey, also is contributing to the emergency beach restoration as the first of a two-phase, $515,000 agreement it has with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey to restore bay habitat following Sandy. The second phase to be undertaken later this spring will entail removal of rubble, pilings and bulkheads and abandoned structures on other bay beaches.
"This vital project will provide immediate benefits for the many bird species that rely on New Jersey beaches," said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. "We're pleased to work with our partners to support a restoration that is so urgently needed."
"The several foundations that have contributed to the NJ Recovery Fund are delighted to support such a critical habitat restoration project that will provide substantial benefits to local communities and our endangered wildlife" said Hans Dekker, the President of the Community Foundation of New Jersey, which administers the Fund. "Several of the participating foundations are focused on the impact of Sandy on South Jersey, and view this project as an important step to reverse some of the more serious ecological consequences of the storm."
"Restoring the horseshoe crab beaches in time for the spring spawning and the return of the red knots is a critical piece of the effort to save these imperiled species," said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society. "Delaware Bay is a globally significant migratory bird stop over site and the epicenter of the horseshoe crab population. Superstorm Sandy wrecked these beaches and we needed to move fast to prepare them for the return of these interconnected species. Our success in getting this project underway so quickly is a result of the hard work, dedication and cooperation of all the partners involved."
The beaches that are being addressed under the emergency restoration project are strung out along a 2.5-mile stretch of Cape May's Middle Township. Restoration will provide places for horseshoe crabs to lay their eggs in time for the critical spring shorebird migration.
Each May, the Western Hemisphere's largest population of horseshoe crabs lays eggs on bay beaches, providing a critical food source for Arctic-nesting shorebirds that include the red knot, ruddy turnstone, sanderling, semipalmated sandpiper, dunlin, and short-billed dowitcher. Work to restore the beaches began Monday and will continue through April.
"Sandy caused significant erosion of horseshoe crab spawning habitat on Delaware Bay," said Amanda Dey, project leader with the DEP's Endangered and Nongame Species Program. "The work we are doing to restore some of the most critical beaches will hopefully give the red knots a fighting chance this spring."
Due to continued declines in the red knot population, the DEP last year downgraded the species' status from threatened to endangered. New Jersey bans the harvesting of horseshoe crabs due to declines in the red knot population, now estimated at 36,000.
The Delaware Bay is critical to the red knot's spring migration from as far away as Tierra del Fuego in South America. Horseshoe crab eggs, unlike any other food resource, are quickly metabolized into fat that allows red knots and other shorebirds to rapidly double body weight.
The bay is the last stop before these birds reach breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic. The fat reserves, put on in Delaware Bay, allow red knots to survive and continue courtship, mating and egg-laying until food becomes available.
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided valuable assistance and support in reviewing the project and accelerating it so work can be completed prior to the shorebird migration. Work began this week at Kimbels Beach. Other beaches in the project area include Reeds Beach, Cooks Beach, and Pierces Point.
Work is focusing on areas adjacent to the mouths of creeks, which historically have been used heavily by spawning horseshoe crabs. An estimated 23,000 cubic yards of sand from a local mine will be placed in these areas. The entire project must be completed by mid-April, before horseshoe crabs and shorebirds return in early May.
For more information on red knots, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensp/redknot.htm
For more information on horseshoe crabs, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/dsr/trends/pdfs/wildlife-horseshoe.pdf
MEDIA NOTES: Photos of beach work, red knots and horseshoe crabs may be downloaded from the DEP home page or by contacting the DEP Press Office at the numbers at the top of this news release. The DEP will also assist you in making arrangements to visit the work site and talk to experts.
Public Board / Field Trip and Other Reports / WCAS Cumberland County Trip - 03/30/13 (Sharyn Magee)
on: March 31, 2013, 05:23:16 PM
WCAS Cumberland County Trip - 03/30/13 (Sharyn Magee)
Thompson's Beach 9:55 AM - 10:22 AM
American Black Duck 12
Green-winged Teal 80 Estimate.
Black Vulture 2
Turkey Vulture 5
Northern Harrier 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Clapper Rail 1
Herring Gull 4
Tree Swallow 6
Song Sparrow 1
Red-winged Blackbird 3
House Finch 1
Glade Rd./Thompson's Beach
Carolina Wren 1
American Robin 2
Song Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 1
East Point Rd.
Red-winged Blackbird 7
Boat-tailed Grackle 3
Bivalve WMA--shellpile 12:00 PM - 1:10 PM
Canada Goose 1
American Black Duck 5
Northern Pintail 2
Green-winged Teal 29
Northern Harrier 2
Bald Eagle 3 One Immature 3rd year.
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Laughing Gull 2
Herring Gull 100 Estimate.
Northern Cardinal 1
East Point Lighthouse
Brant (Atlantic) 1
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Great Black-backed Gull 2
Mourning Dove 1
Savannah Sparrow 1
Red-winged Blackbird 15
Dividing Creek--Maple St.
Mute Swan 12 Counted 12 swans; no question about ID.
Glades Wildlife Refuge--Turkey Pt. 1:24 PM - 2:06 PM
Great Blue Heron 1
Northern Harrier 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Tree Swallow 1
Eastern Bluebird 1
American Robin 4
Song Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 1
Canada Goose 2
Osprey 2 Female sitting on nest.
Mourning Dove 2
Blue Jay 1
Red-winged Blackbird 2
House Finch 2
Herring Gull 1
Tree Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 2 Orange throat with dark lower border;
Steely blue upperparts.
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Turkey Point Road, Cumberland
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Public Board / Field Trip and Other Reports / WCAS Cumberland County Trip - 03/30/13
on: March 31, 2013, 05:12:11 PM
WCAS Cumberland County Trip
March 30, 2013
Charles J. Brine
Mostly sunny, blue skies w/slight N/NW wind. Initially cool(38F) then sunny & warm(60F).
Birding Sites: Thompson Beach , East Point Lighthouse, Heiselerville, Maurice River Park, Commercial Township Restoration Area(Bivalve), Maple Avenue Impoundments, Turkey Point/The Glades, Fortesque, Gandy's Beach
1. Canada Goose
3. Black Duck
4. Green-winged Teal
5. Red-breasted Merganzer
6. Common Merganzer
7. N. Pintail Duck
8. Gadwall Duck
9. Mute Swan
10. Double-crested Cormorant
11. Eastern Phoebe
12. Fish Crow
13. American Crow
14. European Starling
15. Common Grackle
16. Boat-tailed Grackle
17. Red-winged Blackbird
18. White-throated Sparrow
19. Song Sparrow
20 Chipping Sparrow
21. Northern Flicker
22. Northern Mockingbird
23. Turkey Vulture
24. Black Vulture
25. Cooper’s Hawk
26. Red-tailed Hawk
27. N. Harrier (Grey Ghost)
29. Bald Eagle (Adult, Immature, 3rd Year)
30. Tree Swallow
30. Barn Swallow
31. Herring Gull
32. Greater Black-backed Gull
33. Laughing Gull
34. Ring-billed Gull
35. Great Blue Heron
38. House Finch
39. House Sparrow
40. Northern Cardinal
41. Rock Pigeon
42. Mourning Dove
43. Dark-eyed Junco
44. Eastern Bluebird
45. Ring-necked Pheasant
45. American Robin
46. Common Loon
47. Red-throated Loon
48. Clapper Rail
Public Board / Field Trip and Other Reports / WCAS Cumberland Trip - Sat., 3/30, 7:30AM
on: March 23, 2013, 05:46:29 PM
Cumberland Trip - Sat., 3/30
We will meet at the Princeton Shopping Center Parking Lot (South end - Rite Aid)
to car pool leaving at 7:30AM. Our trip route will take us down Rt. 295 > Rt. 55
to WaWa on the east side of the Causeway for Maurice River (Google Map
). We will
arrive there 9:00-9:15AM. If you miss us in Princeton (we wait at most until 7:45AM
if you pre-signed up letting us know your intention to come), you can drive to the
WaWa to meet us as we will be there minimally 15-20mins. You also can call to let us
know. My cell #609-658-8577.
Always good for early Spring/late Winter surprises, this year promises a good
crop of shorebirds as they are in at the Heislerville impoundments. I suspect
we might see some as well at Commercial Twp. Restoration Project (BiValve &
Call to let me know you are coming and give me your cell# so we can check if you
haven't shown up at the Parking Lot meeting place. We will carpool trying to match
preferred return times w/cars. Those running the entire route, will have a full day
affair since it is 1hr. 30mins down to WaWa and same or longer back depending on
Public Board / Environmental Issues / Birds, Cats and Audubon
on: March 16, 2013, 06:37:21 PM
Dear Audubon Chapter Leaders,
You might have heard about an op-ed that was published in the Orlando Sentinel yesterday by long-time Audubon Magazine contributor Ted Williams. His central point was about the ineffectiveness of trap-neuter-return programs and the effects of feral cats on bird populations. In the course of the original piece, which has since been edited by the Orlando Sentinel, Ted also mentioned what some construed to be a do-it-yourself recipe for eliminating feral cats. And because of Ted's stated affiliation with Audubon in the original piece, some of those same readers assumed that we were endorsing this approach. We don't.
The National Audubon Society is unequivocal on the important issue of cat and bird safety: We reject the idea of people taking matters into their own hands in ways that can harm neighbors’ pets – or any cats.
Audubon strongly believes that cats belong indoors. That’s safer for them and for the birds. Feral and free-roaming cats are subject to injury, disease, and predation. We urge communities around the country to adopt effective measures to counter problems suffered and caused by cats and to vigorously enforce existing rules and procedures.
Ted is not an Audubon employee. He is a freelance writer and a committed conservationist who has written for Audubon Magazine for 33 years. He writes personal opinion pieces for numerous publications, including the Orlando Sentinel.
We all understand the threats cats present to birds. Cats – particularly feral cats – are a leading cause of bird deaths. A recent report by Smithsonian scientists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that cats kill an estimated 2.4 billion a year, underscoring the need for effective solutions to protect wild birds and cats alike.
Audubon has long supported a “Cats Indoors” campaign urging pet owners to keep their cats indoors for the safety of both their pets and birds. We have guidelines on how to keep both birds and cats safe at www.audubon.org
. We've had this guidance on our web site for years and we think it’s good, common sense.
In the past day, feral cat activist groups have circulated online petitions rallying supporters to contact Audubon. You may receive inquiries as well. Chapter Leaders are the front lines in communities across the country. I'd urge you to rally your communities to enforce local regulations to the full extent of the law.
President & CEO
National Audubon Society
Public Board / Environmental Issues / Asian Longhorn Beetle Eradicated in NJ!
on: March 15, 2013, 05:52:32 AM
New Jersey Declares Itself Free
From Devastating Tree-Killing Pest
Asian longhorned beetle eradicated from state
(13/P21) Linden — Federal and state agriculture and environmental officials today delivered some welcome news for New Jersey residents in the state’s long running battle against the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB).
"After more than a decade, we can declare New Jersey is free of this invasive pest," said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher. "We could not have accomplished this eradication without this coalition of federal, state, and local agencies, and of course, the citizens of New Jersey, whose vigilance was critical in this fight."
Secretary Fisher was joined by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Associate Deputy Administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine program Victor Harabin and the DEP’s State Forester Lynn Fleming, as well as local elected officials at an announcement ceremony and tree planting at Hawk Rise Sanctuary in Linden, a city that was severely impacted by the invasive pest.
"The united commitment by federal, state and local governments to achieve eradication has helped protect trees in the state of New Jersey and in our nation from the invasive Asian longhorned beetle," stated Harabin. "It is this commitment and cooperation that has resulted in success."
The beetle was first discovered in Jersey City in October 2002. State and federal agriculture officials then found trees infested with the beetle in Carteret, Woodbridge, Linden, and Rahway. Eradication efforts involved the removal of 21,981 trees in Union, Middlesex, and Hudson counties. The infested trees were taken to the Covanta resource recovery facility where they were converted to electrical energy to power some 30,000 homes and businesses.
Nearly a third of those trees have been replanted. Foresters replanted with a variety of non-host species, with each tree chosen specifically to meet the site requirements.
"The public is our best defense against the beetle," said Harabin. "Early detection is essential, and I want to thank the citizens of New Jersey for their efforts to stop the spread of this invasive pest."
As more areas are winning the fight against the beetle, members of the public are encouraged to inspect their trees for signs of damage caused by the insect and report any suspicious findings. The sooner an infestation is reported, the sooner efforts can be made to quickly contain and isolate an area from future destruction. People are encouraged to be mindful of moving firewood, as moving ALB-infested firewood can unintentionally spread of the pest.
New Jersey is the second state to declare eradication from the beetle. ALB was successfully eradicated from Illinois in 2008. The ALB-regulated area of Islip, N.Y. also achieved eradication in 2011. An area is declared free of the ALB after all the infested trees are eliminated and surveys are negative for active signs of beetle activity or the presence of the beetle. Eradication announcements for Manhattan and Staten Island, N.Y. are also expected this year.
The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) was first discovered in the U.S. in 1996, likely arriving here unknowingly inside wood packing material from Asia. The insect has no known natural predators and it threatens recreational areas, forests, and suburban and urban shade trees. The beetle bores through the tissues that carry water and nutrients throughout the tree, which causes the tree to starve, weaken and eventually die. Once a tree is infested, it must be removed. It has caused tens of thousands of trees to be destroyed in New Jersey, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, and Illinois.
"While this eradication is a victory for forest health, many other pests still actively threaten New Jersey’s trees," said State Forester Lynn Fleming. "We need every resident to keep vigilant and not move firewood and inspect their trees regularly for signs of infestation."
For more information, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture
# # # #
Public Board / Field Trip and Other Reports / Shark River - 02/02/13
on: February 02, 2013, 07:25:12 PM
Location: Shark River, Monmouth, US-NJ
Date/Time: Feb 2, 2013 9:00 AM
Compiler: Sharyn Magee
|Tundra Swan||1 White with black bill.|
|American Black Duck||20 Estimate.|
|Lesser Scaup||60 EStimate.|
|Ruddy Duck||300 EStimate.|
|Great Black-backed Gull||30 Estimate.|
|Red Crossbill||1 Heard call verified by comparing to recording. Recording used for ID purposes only.|
Location: Manasquan Inlet, Ocean, US-NJ
Date/Time: Feb 2, 2013 12:00 AM
Compiler: Sharyn Magee
|Razorbill||2 Alcid with thick bill with verticle white line.|
Location: Spring Lake, Monmouth, US-NJ
Date/Time: Feb 2, 2013
Compiler: Sharyn Magee
Public Board / Environmental Issues / Christie Administration Opens First State-Owned ATV Park
on: January 10, 2013, 10:46:46 AM
CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION OPENS FIRST STATE-OWNED ATV PARK;
SPECIAL PREVIEW SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY
(12/P3) TRENTON – The Christie Administration on Sunday Jan. 13 will hold a special public preview to mark the opening of the first state-owned all-terrain vehicle park, a mostly wooded tract in Woodbine, Cape May County, that once served as a sand mine and later as a private motocross track.
The administration is inviting riders to join officials from the Department of Environmental Protection and local officials in taking a test run of the new Mount Pleasant State Off-Road Vehicle Park, the first regional ATV park to be designated by the DEP. ATV use remains illegal on all other state-owned lands.
“We are very excited to showcase this new park,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “The Christie Administration is committed to developing managed parks in the state that will provide fans of all-terrain vehicles a safe environment in which to enjoy their sport. Just as important, this park will take pressure off environmentally sensitive lands that are damaged by illegal use of ATVs.”
The DEP is currently developing requests for proposals from bidders interested in running the park under a 10-year operating agreement. Following Sunday’s preview, riders may use the park free of charge until a contractor is hired later this year. The park will be available to riders seven days a week during normal operating hours set for Belleplain State Forest, located nearby. Those hours are currently 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The DEP worked closely with Woodbine Mayor William Pikolycky and the Borough Council in scouting out the site.
“This new park is going to mean a lot to our borough and surrounding areas,” said Mayor Pikolycky, who also serves as Chairman of the Pinelands Municipal Council. “It’s wonderful that we will have a facility that provides legal recreational riding opportunities for enthusiasts of off-road vehicles. We will look to possibly expand the riding area in the near future. But for now, I look forward to announcing ‘Start Your Engines,’ on January 13th.”
Those interested in participating in two preview riding sessions at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. must obtain a permit at the Belleplain State Forest. The DEP will issue permits on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 25 riders for each of the sessions.
Riders for these sessions must complete an application form and provide validation of identification, current registration issued by the Motor Vehicle Commission, and proof of insurance. For directions to Belleplain, visit: www.njparksandforests.org/parks/belle.html
The DEP purchased the site of the former Mount Pleasant Sand and Gravel operation, located at the intersection of County Routes 550 and 610, in November 2011. The DEP acquired the 63-acre property with $393,000 in Green Acres Program funds.
Ten acres of the property, including an existing 3/4-mile ATV course, will be used initially for the park, with future expansions planned. The park consists of sand pits, sand roads and sandy areas left over from the former mining and motocross operations that provide ideal tracks for off-road vehicles. It is suitable for beginners to intermediate riders.
“With its existing ATV track and sandy moguls in a pine woods setting, this park will provide a great riding experience for many years to come,” said Richard Boornazian, Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “This also should reduce illegal ATV riding in our state parks and natural lands, which damages sensitive natural resources such as forests, streams and wetlands, and harms plant and animal species and their habitats.’’
State Park Service personnel and State Park Police will patrol the park. Rules for use are posted at the park. Users of the park must adhere to the following:
• The park is to be used by ATVs, dirt bikes and snowmobiles only. All vehicles using the new park must be equipped with headlights, taillights, brakes, reflector material and muffler.
• Operators must wear a protective helmet, motorcycle/ATV goggles, over-the-ankle leather boots, long-sleeve shirt, long pants, gloves, wrist guards and kneepads.
• Park users must be at least 14 years old. Anyone less than 16 years of age may not operate an ATV with an engine capacity greater than 90 cubic centimeters.
• All users under the age of 18 must complete an ATV safety education and training course established or certified by the Motor Vehicle Commission, which they must have in their possession.
Legislation enacted in 2009 calls for the DEP to site three regional parks for the use of all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and snowmobiles to provide riding opportunities and reduce pressure from illegal and improper use of ATVs, dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles.
The DEP had been searching for suitable sites for regional off-road vehicle parks for a number of years. The DEP is currently working to identify municipalities in central and northern New Jersey willing to help with the development of similar parks in those regions. Under the ATV legislation, the DEP must purchase new land for the parks and may not use existing state park lands.
ATVs must be registered in New Jersey. Registration can be obtained at any of the Motor Vehicle Commission’s 39 agencies for a fee of $17 for in-state residents and $19 for out-of-state riders. Proof of ownership is required.