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wildlife conservation

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”

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

Fortescue Beach Takes Form on Delaware Bay

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Fortescue beach begins to take form as a constant line of 24 ton trucks deliver sand and H4 operators lift it over the sea wall and onto the intertidal edge of the sea. On Monday, March 23, they hauled 2,000 tons. The benefit of our work became apparent on Tuesday, March 24, as the high tide washed against the derelict bulkheads that once protected this road south out of Fortescue connecting it to Raybin’s Beach. In the clip above Boomer Huen’s bulldozer heroically extends the high tide line out against the Delaware Bay waves lap the new shoreline. When horseshoe…

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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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Science, wildlife conservation

Be A Voice for Wildlife

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“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower “If you don’t know where you are going,you’ll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra   How would a new theory of change work on Delaware Bay? Two posts ago, I outlined 6 new strategies for achieving restoration of Delaware Bay ecosystem. They are not technical proposals- I call for no new research or new funds for existing conservation projects. Its not a call for new staff either. It’s a theory composed of six rough cut strategies drawn more from…

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conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, wildlife conservation

Draining Natural Wealth Free of Responsibility

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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, Delaware Bay, wildlife conservation

A sky white with snows (part 2)

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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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Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Science, wildlife conservation

a sky white with snows

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Greater Snow Geese cover the sky over Greenwich, NJ (Photo L Niles) Arctic nesting snow geese winter in great numbers in the Cohansey River drainage.  Huge flocks, numbering in the thousands, pile into our area in early winter and stay until they begin their long journey back to the tundra.  This year they didn’t arrive until the mid-December, another sign of our relatively mild winter, but normally they arrive in November.   They don’t make the heroic and lonely journey of red knots flying across the often storm-tossed western Atlantic, but fly instead in great numbers over land with the coordination…

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shorebird conservation, wildlife conservation

the red knot will be listed

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to list the red knot as federally threatened, and it will begin working on this monumental task soon.   For a blog she recently posted, Sandy Bauers, the Philadelphia Inquirer environmental reporter, asked me what I thought about the listing and how it would help the red knot.   Red Knots in winter plumage feeding. Photo by Mark Peck First, I thought of the benefits for the bird.  Once listed, the red knot will be front-and-center in decisions affecting migratory stopovers, such as Delaware Bay that have been diminished by short-sighted management and wintering areas …

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conservation policy, wildlife conservation

More on Transforming the Conservation of Wildife on Delaware Bay.

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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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wildlife conservation

Generational Capital

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The month of May on Delaware Bay was a whirlwind of fieldwork and activities that left our team of scientists beleaguered and ready for rest.  It’s hard to remember that the season started early with a celebration of the Bay’s designation as a site of Hemispheric importance to shorebirds.  The designation conferred by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network is especially important because it now includes 84 sites, and Delaware Bay remains to this day one of the, if not the most, important sites for shorebirds in the US.  Former Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson speaking at the WHRSN celebration…

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shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation

The early news is knot good

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NJ’s shorebird team The most important variables describing the status of red knots on Delaware Bay are the size of the migrant population and the percentage of the flock that reaches 180 g, the minimum weight necessary to make it to the Arctic to breed successfully.  We knew before the May 2011 season that the number of red knots in their main wintering areas were down by as much as 30% or more.   We knew that the percentage of knots making weight is far below what it once was in the late 90’s.  This was a direct result of the…

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shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation

new season on Delaware Bay

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Curlew Sandpipers have been the great attraction of the Heislerville Impoundments but they are of great value to marsh shorebirds as a roosting area at high tide. Photo by D WelchThe red knots of Delaware Bay have returned and with them the NJ shorebird banding team.  Over the last few days, we and the DE team have counted about 3,500 knot, mostly in Delaware’s Mispillion Harbor, but about 500 in the Reeds Beach area.   We estimate only a small number of ruddy turnstones and sanderlings in the bay but NJ Audubon’s David Mizrahi reports nearly 25,000 semipalmated sandpipers and semipalmated…

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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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