The Delaware Estuary, stretching along the southwestern coast of New Jersey and the coast of Delaware, contains tidal rivers, salt marshes, and woodlands. In addition to providing valuable recreational opportunities for millions of residents of New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania, it is widely recognized for its vast wetlands and diverse wildlife. Over 300 bird species can be found annually, including waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and landbirds. Although many rare and endangered species depend on the estuary, it is recognized nationally as essential habitat for more than a million migratory shorebirds that descend on the Bayshore each spring.
As a major stop on the Atlantic Flyway, the Delaware Bayshore is a staging ground for migratory shorebirds of six species, including Red Knot (state-threatened), Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling (state-special concern), and Semipalmated Sandpiper (state-special concern). The Bayshore and surrounding forest also provide important stopover habitat for migratory passerines and raptors. In addition, waterfowl congregate in large numbers off-shore during the winter months. Many secretive marsh birds, such as the King Rail (state-threatened) and Least Bittern (state-special concern), nest in significant numbers within the Bayshore's abundant salt marshes. This area provides nesting habitat for important populations of Willets, Marsh Wrens, and Northern Harriers (state-endangered) as well as the Peregrine Falcon (state-endangered) and Bald Eagle (federally-threatened, state-endangered). The estuary also provides wetland breeding habitat for American Black Ducks, a species experiencing range-wide declines.
NJAS' Important Bird and Birding Areas Program has identified 20 Important Bird Areas within the Delaware Bayshore Region. Because of the importance of the this region, NJAS has initiated several conservation and stewardship projects to help protect and restore this essential area.
Mannington Township Project
Cohansey River Corridor Important Bird Area
Red Knots in the Delaware Bay
Forest Stewardship in Important Bird Areas (IBA)
1. Volunteer Opportunities
2. Mannington Township Project
Identified as high priority for conservation by the NJAS' Important Bird and Birding Areas Program, the Mannington Township is like no other place in New Jersey. With a population of 1,300 residents, the agricultural heritage of this community is evident. NJAS is working with municipal officials and private landowners to implement a conservation plan to retain the area's unique and rural character.
An important part of this plan is to increase or improve the amount of wildlife habitat in the IBA. By building partnerships, we are helping landowners access sate and federal funding to put habitat projects on the ground. As part of this grass roots conservation movement, volunteers and landowners will work to restore two miles of riparian area along the meadow.
Read the Conservation Plan (in PDF format):
To download the Mannington Meadows IBA Conservation Plan click here.
To download the Riparian Restoration Plan click here.
To download the Grassland Breeding Bird Objectives click here.
3. Cohansey River Corridor Important Bird Area
The Cohansey River Corridor Important Bird Area (IBA) is 28,500 acre area spanning nine municipalities in southern New Jersey. The Cohansey River is a tidal river in the Delaware Estuary that is bound by extensive tidal saltmarsh, mixed woods, cultivated fields and orchards. The river originates in Salem County and meanders through Cumberland County before reaching the Delaware Bay. Public land located with this IBA include the Bayside Tract, Dix Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Clarks Pond WMA and Bridgeton City Park in historic Bridgeton.
The threatened and endangered birds that depend on the uplands and wetland of the Cohansey River Corridor IBA include Bald Eagle, Osprey, and Cooper's Hawk. Waterfowl, sparrows, shorebirds and rails can also be found at this IBA. Because water quality and riparian habitat are so important to this IBA, the NJ Audubon Society is working with private landowners to help them get involved in voluntary incentive programs that conserve soil, protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat.
If you would like to learn about these incentive programs and schedule a visit to your property to discuss stewardship opportunities, email Jean Lynch or call 609-861-1608 ext. 24.
Read the Conservation Plan (in PDF format):
To download the Cohansey River Corridor IBA Conservation Plan click here.
To download the Grassland Breeding Bird Objectives click here