Trump National Golf Club (Trump National), has entered into a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the New Jersey Audubon (NJA) to partake in a habitat restoration project on their Bedminster, Somerset County, NJ facility. Through the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, Trump National, NJA and the USFWS, will be restoring natural wildlife communities, that will create important habitat for migratory birds as well as for various pollinator species.
"The Trump National site represents a large tract of open space with a mix of early successional grasslands, scrub-shrub and edge habitat. Foraging and nesting habitat are available on the course to a variety of migratory birds, including bobolink, savannah sparrow, purple martin, eastern bluebird, and eastern kingbird." said Brian Marsh, Private Lands Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The USFWS commends Trump National's interest in creating and restoring wildlife habitat on their property.”
A recent member to New Jersey Audubon's Corporate Stewardship Council (CSC), Trump National, with assistance from NJ Audubon and USWFS, will be implementing the first phase of the restoration plan by performing invasive non-native vegetation removal and control this fall and next spring in designated habitat areas. "The introduction of non-native plants, whether intentional or not, has affected native animals both indirectly and directly." said John Parke, Stewardship Project Director for New Jersey Audubon. "Invasive non-native plant species destroy habitat by crowding out the native plants that have evolved with the native animals, replacing them with vegetation that is inferior foraging and nesting opportunities, hence one reason for species declines. Given the landscape type at Trump National, seeing what is currently on-site and knowing what surrounds the property in terms of critical habitat potential, this project will ultimately provide significant ecological uplift to the region's native species, including some of NJ's rarest, the grassland dependent birds."
After invasive vegetation controls are completed the next phase of the project will be to enhance the course’s value to migratory birds and pollinators by establishing meadows consisting of native wildflowers, warm-season grasses, as well as planting native trees and shrubs around wetland and other riparian zones on the course. Bird nesting boxes will also be placed throughout the property, with a focus to attract North America's smallest falcon, the American kestrel. The large open expanses at the property, offer excellent foraging areas for this raptor species (which was recently designated a State Threatened species).
"I take great pride that the US Fish and Wildlife Service and NJ Audubon recognizes and validates the environmental contribution we have made with the original design of our two world class golf courses in Bedminster. They currently provide for over 200 acres of habitat for indigenous and migratory grassland birds. With this partnership we look forward to their professional guidance in further improving and expanding the habitat at this wonderful property." said course owner Donald J Trump.
"Trump National is demonstrating an outstanding commitment to sustaining native wildlife populations." said Eric Stiles, President for New Jersey Audubon. "They are solidifying a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding community to foster environmental awareness and a conservation ethic while enhancing wildlife and natural systems in New Jersey."
Starting in mid-July, the wildlife gardens at NJ Audubon’s Center for Research and Education (CRE) have been receiving much needed attention from NJ Audubon Stewardship Assistant, Alfonso Castro. Alfonso has been removing a number of invasive species and rescuing important host plants for butterflies and other insects that provide food for birds and other wildlife. The once overgrown wildlife gardens are now looking healthy and restored!
Alfonso is not alone in this important effort- he has been receiving assistance from dedicated volunteers who enjoy gardening and improving habitat for wildlife. On August 4th, a volunteer event was held with the goal of removing invasive species from our wildlife gardens- a tough job, but everyone had fun while they worked! Volunteers are essential to the continued success of the wildlife gardens at CRE and we are so grateful to have their help and expertise! If you are interested in helping with the wildlife gardens at New Jersey Audubon’s Center for Research and Education, please contact Alfonso at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Alfonso Castro