On October 1, 2011, NJ Audubon and our wonderful volunteers completed the final steps in a multi-year habitat restoration project on 110 acres of private land in Elsinboro Township, Salem County.
Through this exciting project we were able to work with three neighboring large landowners to restore 110 acres of brackish marsh that had been taken over with invasive Phragmites australis, a very common, tall invasive grass. The Phragmites had converted a diverse native brackish marsh into a monoculture of dense, non-native vegetation with reduced wildlife habitat quality. We spent several years working on getting control of the Phragmites, monitoring regrowth of native plants, and planting thousands of native wetland plants to reestablish diversity within the marsh.
New Jersey Audubon developed and organized the project, which was completed in two phases. Sixty acres were restored in the first phase and 50 in the second. Funding and on-the-ground help were provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildife Service’s Coastal Program and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, and the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) provided further funding and technical assistance for improving water quality by taking some of the wetland buffer out of crops and planting it in native vegetation. The William Penn Foundation provided essential financial support.
Nature doesn’t recognize ownership boundaries, and that is one reason why NJ Audubon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S.D.A. all support and encourage private landowners who wish to be great stewards of their land. We appreciate the landowners who work with us and the many volunteers who have helped us with restoration work on private land. When a private landowner improves habitat for fish and wildlife, we all benefit, whether from stronger fish and wildlife populations, cleaner water, increased biological diversity, or other benefits.
Written by: Jean Lynch, Stewardship Project Director, South Region