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Wattles Stewardship Center

Wattles Stewardship Center

Wattles Stewardship Center – Photo by John Parke
Wattles Stewardship Center – Photo by John Parke

The Wattles Stewardship Center is a 51-acre wildlife sanctuary and is also the location of New Jersey Audubon’s northern Stewardship Program staff. Acquisition of the property was made possible by Mr. Gurdon Wattles, who donated the house and barn, and through NJ Green Acres funding.

The Wattles Stewardship Center is flanked by a state wildlife management area to the southeast and preserved farmland to the northwest. A trail from the Wattles Center parking lot leads visitors to the Musconetcong River and will ultimately connect to Point Mountain Road and HunterdonCounty's Point Mountain Park.

NJA is working to make the Wattles Stewardship Center a model for blending environmental awareness, wildlife habitat, and agriculture. As such, this site has both agricultural fields and land dedicated to wildlife habitat. Two of the Wattles fields are managed by a local farmer for commodity crop production such as corn, sunflower seeds, and soybeans. Other portions of the property serve as critical wildlife habitat that also provides important natural resource benefits to the region and to the on-site farming activities.

NJA is working with several groups, including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), on a number of on-site conservation-related projects. These include native grassland establishment, native scrub-shrub enhancement, pollinator habitat improvement, invasive vegetation removal and control, and vernal pool and riparian restoration. These projects are being funded through enrollment of the land in the following conservation cost-share programs: State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (PFW), and the Forest Stewardship Program (FSP).