2018 Year in Review
FROM THE DIRECTOR
Given the many conservation challenges facing our state and our world, The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey’s strategy for impact is to look beyond what our staff can accomplish alone and support and empower partners to do even more conservation, both with us and on their own. This approach underpins all the work covered in this report, as well as the goals and successes of the Campaign for the Real Nature of New Jersey.
The impact of collaboration goes beyond the trees our staff plant in the Paulins Kill by providing statewide Roots for Rivers reforestation grants; beyond the living shoreline projects we can build by providing technical assistance to coastal communities and launching a new incentives program to accelerate action; and beyond the land we can purchase and maintain by working with partners to create the Conservation Lands Blueprint and committing resources to help bring high-priority acquisitions to fruition.
We celebrate not just progress The Nature Conservancy has made over its 2018 fiscal year; but also New Jersey’s conservation community and how much we can accomplish together.
The New Jersey Chapter remains focused on strategic and science-based conservation of the lands most vital to people and wildlife. We protected and assisted partners in protecting 1,857 acres in 2018. Collaboration with partners helps to leverage our resources and achieve the greatest possible conservation impact here in the most densely populated state.
Highlight: Protecting the Cape May Peninsula
In a victory more than 10 years in the making, The Nature Conservancy led a coalition of partners to protect the largest privately-held piece of land that remained on the Cape May Peninsula. The 477-acre Cape Viking property is less than a mile from the Delaware Bay and a quarter-mile from adjacent salt marsh, so its protection provides a place for the marsh to migrate inland in response to sea level rise. LEARN MORE
As we continue work to restore the entire Paulins Kill watershed, The Nature Conservancy has also broadened our view to support freshwater restoration statewide. We have launched a small grants program to support tree planting projects for floodplain restoration and worked with partners to launch a task force to catalyze dam removal projects statewide.
Highlight: Columbia Dam Removal
A team of partners led by The Nature Conservancy has succeeded in removing the Columbia Dam, an 18-foot high, 300-foot long barrier that has for more than a century degraded water quality and blocked fish passage in the Paulins Kill, the third largest New Jersey tributary to the Delaware.
Removing the dam and restoring the natural river habitat will result in a domino effect of benefits, for shad, trout and other wildlife, and for people, who will have cleaner drinking water and enhanced hiking, fishing, and boating access. This is a huge accomplishment and milestone in our campaign to protect and restore The Real Nature of New Jersey! LEARN MORE
With a goal of making nature-based solutions a norm in protecting coastal areas, the Chapter intensified efforts to help New Jersey’s coastal towns get innovative living shoreline projects through the planning process and on the ground. The response shows the growing recognition of the need to use all the tools at hand to tackle erosion, flooding and other impacts of climate change along our state’s magnificent shoreline.
Highlight: Coastal Marsh Restoration
We are using the unwanted sediment from navigational dredging to build up the elevation of salt marshes. The “beneficial reuse” process employs water cannons to spray clean dredge material across low-lying and degraded sections of marsh, helping the wetland better keep pace with sea level rise.
Improving the health of these marshes allows them to better respond to sea level rise while providing habitat for wildlife, recreation for people and a multitude of benefits for coastal communities. Monitoring the projects’ effectiveness is ongoing, but there are already encouraging signs of success: black skimmer, least tern and American oystercatchers are now nesting on the site. LEARN MORE
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2018 Year in Review
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