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sustainable land use

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

Shorebirds Arrive on Restored Delaware Bay Beaches

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After a week of lovely spring weather, strong westerly winds blowing over a still cold sea reasserted winter’s hold on our beaches. Last week, the machine operators wore short sleeves, today they pulled out the camo down and Carhard woolen caps. I dug out my Patagonia down hoodie. The sea looked angry as wave after wave assaulted our new beach at Fortescue – three days so far. We lost sand but as Steve Hafner says, “it probably stayed in the profile” or within the beaches designed shape. Let’s hope so. The impact of the wind today demonstrates the importance of giving the horseshoe crabs and the birds choices for…

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

Beaches Are Growing And Reefs Are Being Built

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The two beaches slowly take form but already promise better breeding habitat for horseshoe crabs. H4 adds about 2000 tons of Ricci Bros Sand every day, slowly building towards our goal of 48,000 tons on Fortescue Beach. We are now at 20,500 tons. One can now envisage the final beach and the sheer volume of sand it will take to make it. Boomer Huen running the front end loader and bulldozer pushes sand into the inter-tidal zone and the night time high tide reshapes it. Its not a loss however, the sand moves into the designed beach profile that Steve…

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

Improving Economy of Local Bayshore Towns

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Although our project focuses on improving conditions for horseshoe crabs and birds, we also aim to improve the economy of rural bayshore towns in small but meaningful ways. This is important because, like much of the country’s rural areas, Cumberland County suffers enormous levels of poverty. According to a recent survey by NJ Times, Cumberland has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country with nearly 44% of working age males are out of work. We tried to help at the start of our work. We included the leaders of the bayside towns, Middle Township, Maurice River Township and…

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

Constructing Fortescue and Thompson’s Beach in 2015

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The construction teams in Fortescue and Thompson’s are now moving as fast as possible to finish the restoration work before the arrival of the horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay. Each company follows a different procedure for building Fortescue and Thompson’s beaches. At Fortescue, the town rebuilt an existing berm of rubble that protected the beach road after Hurricane Sandy destroyed ​the berm​. They then capped it with unformed concrete. H4’s excavator moves slowly down the reformed berm to load sand on the inter​-​tidal beach to create an out-of-tide roadway for the bulldozer (see video above). Subsequent sand is used to…

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

Restoration Continues, Regardless of Snow

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Both projects, Thompson’s Beach and South Fortescue Beach continued under a cold and very wet snow storm this past Friday (March 20, 2015). Just the five mile difference made for snowfall on Fortescue, but rain on Thompson’s. With rubble removed in the first section of Fortescue beach, Boomer Huen started building the beach on South Fortescue. With 7 trucks carrying loads of sand from Ricci Brothers Sand Plan, we were able to place over 1,000 yards of sand. The geographical orientation of this new beach will be similar to those on the Cape May peninsula including North and South Reeds Beach….

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

Work at Fortescue Beach Begins

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With the help of the New Jersey Division of Land Use Regulation, we were cleared to work on Fortescue Beach last Friday, March 20, 2015. It’s a big project! We will be moving over 40,000 yards of sand, nearly twice as much as was used in 2013 on the five beaches between Reeds Beach to Pierce’s Point. Restoring South Fortescue Beach will be vital to achieving the goals of our project. The most important goal is to remove the threat posed by a rubble strewn shoreline. The rubble served as a stopgap attempt to protect the road that connects Fortescue…

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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

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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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Expeditions and Travels, shorebird conservation, South Carolina, sustainable land use

jobs, shorebirds and a sunny day on a South Carolina beach

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The crew heading out to Deveaux Bank, SCThe noonday sun bathed us with early but welcome warmth while we sat behind a dune on Deveaux Bank, SC. A gentle breeze kept us cool while we waited for the tide to rise and shrink the island where three thousand red knots roosted. The Atlantic ocean sprawled in all directions, the Islands of Seabrook and Kiawah within sight a few miles off. Inevitably the tide would force the knots onto the intertidal flat before us, where we had set a cannon net several hours earlier.The crew setting the net was a mixed bag of characters such as, photographer/author, an English micro biologist, three biologists from the USFWS, including Melissa Bimbi, the southern lead on the listing of the red knot. The…

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Conserving Wildlife, sustainable land use

Can conservationists restore impoverished rural landscapes?

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Can conservationists restore impoverished rural wildlife and human landscapes?   This was the question that came to me over and over again as I drove through the rural coastal plain of the southeastern US.   I have not seen these areas since I was a young man struggling to support a young family.  Ultimately, we moved our family to New Jersey but left behind a land that ultimately fell into a deep and pernicious decline that paralleled the corporate takeover of these rural economies. The small town economies collapsed because of competition from chain retail stores, while large-scale farm and forestry operations…

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Conserving Wildlife, sustainable land use

sportsmen and birders working together in SC

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My journey through the south ended at a gated community on the South Carolina coast called Harbor Island.  Like other gated islands off the SC coast, Harbor Island is exclusive to most homeowners and renters.   One might categorize Harbor Island as being on the low end of this narrow spectrum, Hilton Head and other nearby islands are bigger with much wealthier residents.     Regardless, the island is a wonderful place to spend time on this coast, one of the most beautiful of the eastern US. Shorebirds, skimmers and terns on the south end of Harbor IslandI came to trap red knots…

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conservation policy, sustainable land use

A brief history of conservation on the Delaware Bayshore with an eye to the future . Delaware Bay 2011

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Previous Post 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…

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conservation, sustainable land use

Out to sea: the human toll of misguided environmental policy

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Sign at Coast Guard Station proclaiming the importance of weakfish to Fortescueians. Unfortunately, weakfish are another victim of overharvest.Fortescue was once the self-proclaimed “Weakfish capital of the world”.  No more, even by the most optimistic reckoning.  This once vibrant town, perched precariously along NJ’s Delaware Bayshore, has suffered the twin blows of a state government that refuses to invest in the infrastructure of the Delaware Bayshore towns, and a fisheries management system that works for the fish industry and not the fishermen. Miss Fortescue is one of the headboats carrying fishermen for 4 or 6 hour trips. Now that the…

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conservation, sustainable land use

NJ’s land use schizophrenia

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It’s no secret that the people from New Jersey have conflicting impulses when it comes to rural land in their Garden State.  The conflict can be seen as you travel down the Garden State Parkway — the real Jersey Shore (not the reality TV version) on one side and the Pinelands Preservation Zone on the other.  The clash is particularly abrupt on the drive from the Delaware Bayshore at Jake’s Landing to Wildwood on the Atlantic ocean.  We distinguish ourselves by creating the most jarring contrasts of the most garish architecture and the most preserved spaces.   Gentle transitions are not…

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sustainable land use

job creation through conservation

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When most people hear the word “environmentalism” they think of job loss.   Industry helps along this mistaken conclusion because it almost always  overestimates the cost of complying with environmental regulation .  We hear plenty about the costs but never about the outcome — that complying is not only less costly, it creates greater efficiency and ultimately improves productivity.  Increased productivity equals new jobs or better pay.   But what of the economic impact of habitat creation or wildlife conservation?  This is not so clear.  The costs and benefits of conservation are most often tested in discrete locations where one can control…

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sustainable land use, wildlife conservation

Why does the Delaware Bay lack identity?

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I have been working on Delaware Bay for decades, and increasingly I ask the question, “why does Delaware Bay have no identity to the people of this region and what are the consequences?”  I was reminded of this once again, while writing my blog entry on the Atlantic Sturgeon (see here), because of the odd conclusion of the writers of the sturgeon’s Federal Status Assessment.  In that Assessment, the scientists studying the sturgeon repeatedly stated that the Delaware Bay was the heart of the Atlantic Sturgeon population.  Before it’s decades-long crash, over 75% of the east coast catch of sturgeon…

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