conservation policy

Bird Study, conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, habitat management, Restoring Habitat, Science, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

Fortescue and Thompson’s Beach: “It’s all labor”

In the video above, Humphrey Sitters counts 16,000 red knots on Egg Island Point, just east of our new beach. The flock is the largest concentration in the hemisphere. The construction of Fortescue Beach has finally reached that early stage known to most people in construction where they say “it’s all labor”. The early logistical problems have been ironed out and our goal is simple, to get as much sand onto the beach as fast as is possible. On Tuesday and Wednesday, H4 hauled over 4000 tons of sand. The beach gradually takes shape. Boomer Huen and Eric Johnson use…

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Bird Study, conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, habitat management, Restoring Habitat, Science, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, sustainable land use, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

Thompson’s Beach Restoration is Underway

Earlier this month, this season’s restoration work began at Thompson’s Beach. Wickberg Marine restored the road out to the Beach. The road once served the community of Thompson’s Beach, a small bayside enclave of Maurice River Township. After a series of punishing storms, the State DEP and Maurice River Township gained control of the small overwashed beach community and removed the houses. Two years ago, the DEP’s Bureau of Coastal Engineering and NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife removed much of the rubble that residents once used to protect their homes from angry Delaware Bay storms, but left a significant portion…

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conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, wildlife conservation

Draining Natural Wealth Free of Responsibility

In the previous post I suggest good conservation starts with all conservationist – sportsmen, birders, at home wildlife feeders and home providers, naturalists of all kinds- having the courage to defend wildlife whose voice is unheard.  The rural areas of Delaware Bay are nothing like the wilderness of the Arctic, but our situation is similar. Here as there, beautiful rural land and water has been set aside with muscular public land acquisitions and very restrictive regulations that in theory should protect it for the benefit of people and wildlife of the state and those of the area. Instead, the land…

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conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Expeditions and Travels, hunting, Uncategorized

Hunting Shorebirds in Guadeloupe

The hunting in Guadeloupe is very different than in French Guiana.  Here hunters are better organized and command greater political power.  They are skilled at using guns of quality and most seem expert at attracting and shooting shorebirds.  In the US you might compare them to waterfowl hunters.   They manage wetlands for the hunting of shorebirds called, in English, “killing swamps”.   For over three months hunters will ring the swamps shooting at greater and lesser yellowlegs, golden plovers, stilt sandpipers and many other species.  Whimbrels are the favorite targets. Hunter shooting a shorebird in Guadeloupe In many ways you would…

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conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, wildlife conservation

A sky white with snows (part 2)

In my last blog I described the growing impact of exploding Snow Goose populations and asked what can be done about it. Some will blanch to hear that hunting is, without question, the best way to help this bird.  But each year hunters kill only about 50,000 birds, far less than the yearly production.  So even with liberal hunting seasons and bag limits, the population continues to grow.  Why aren’t hunters killing more? Part of the reason is the skill necessary to kill Snows.  It is a tricky operation that sometimes requires hundreds of decoys to bring the birds into a field.  Another…

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conservation policy, Delaware Bay

nitrogen in our water

The drinking water on our property is high in nitrogen.  This potentially dangerous, but common,Combine harvesting Monsanto soy in our field in Greenwich chemical must be scrubbed from our water with a reverse osmosis water filtration system.  The source of the nitrogen is officially unknown yet it plays a key role in the agriculture of our area.  Simply put, nitrogen makes things grow.   Unfortunately, when over-applied it can also end up in drinking water especially in large agricultural landscapes with vulnerable aquifers.   Our agriculture-dominated landscape is small by national standards, but it is the largest in New Jersey.   Farmed fields and woodlots cover…

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conservation policy, habitat management, san francisco bay

Comparing San Francisco Bay and Delaware Bay- what we can learn

When I was a young man,  I fished with my father, Joseph Niles, and my father-in-law, Bill Weigle, both great fishermen in an age of great fishing.  In the 1960s, it would be nothing to go out and catch a cooler full of fish or a bushel of crabs from the bay or ocean, and the fish caught would provide good seafood for the year.    The fish were often large — “Doormat” was my favorite description of flounder, but the same kind of thing could be said for weakfish, bluefish, stripers, tautog, black Bass, red drum and more.  Although no one really…

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conservation policy

Why is the public not inspired to defend wildlife?

In my last three blogs I have described the decline of two species, the comospolitian red knot and the truly American bobwhite quail.  These two species represent two distinct lines of people, birders and hunters, who are among a legion of people who self-identify as wildlife enthusiasts.   Collectively they number nearly 88 million people or 30% of the US population.  These people leave their homes to enjoy wildlife, they spend money to pursue birds by buying expensive gear and traveling great distances.  Hunters and fishermen spend the most because they also buy permits and licenses.  Bird watchers pay for the…

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conservation policy, shorebird conservation

gambling with the future of horseshoe crabs and shorebirds

Last week marked a new turn in the 15-year old battle to protect Delaware Bay’s population of horseshoe crabs and the migratory shorebirds that depend upon them.  For better or worse, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission adopted a new policy  (called Addendum 7) thereby embracing the use of a complicated and untested model predicting sustainable levels of horseshoe crab harvest and an even riskier allocation scheme that loosens restrictions on industrial harvests of horseshoe crabs in MD and VA.  The two moves will significantly increase the harvest of horseshoe crabs at a time when there are no objective signs…

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conservation policy, wildlife conservation

More on Transforming the Conservation of Wildife on Delaware Bay.

Despite the many problems facing wildlife and rural people along Delaware Bay, fortunately, there are some very important conservation assets. Foremost among them are the superior infrastructure of land in public and private conservation ownership and the extraordinary productivity of the bayshore’s marshes, farms and forests.  Truly, they are among the most productive in the eastern U.S., perhaps the world.  In my previous blog, I suggested two fixes for the bay’s conservation problems that could spur a transformative change: Sportsmen and wildlife watchers (defined formally as people who leave their house to seek wildlife) uniting to form a new bay-wide…

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conservation policy, sustainable land use

A brief history of conservation on the Delaware Bayshore with an eye to the future

The conservation of Delaware Bay has evolved many times over in the last hundred years.  Some of the changes were a consequence of economic shifts, others a reflection of our growing understanding of the ecological fabric of the land.  Reflecting on this past helps us understand where we are today and points to where we should aim for the future. Before the 1950’s the conservation ethic of the Delaware bayshore was more a consequence of necessity than any explicit doctrine.   During the first half of the 20th century the bayshore was a sleepy place that supported a rural population of…

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conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Expeditions and Travels, Science

Non-Partisan Conservation

Today I start my blog on wildlife conservation, sustainable rural economies and life in and around the Delaware Bay.  Over the last 10 years, I blogged during research trips to the Canadian Arctic, Tierra del Fuego, and Delaware Bay in my home state of New Jersey. It was not easy using dial up and satellite connections in places like Coral Harbor, Nunavut, or Punta Arenas, Chile, but the work was new and naturally led to a blog.  I hoped to provide people concerned about migratory shorebirds on Delaware Bay a glimpse of the birds’ far flung breeding and wintering areas…

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