Friday, September 23, 2016

NJDEP gets federal grant to help protect bog turtles

 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded the Department of Environmental Protection an $850,000 grant under the federal Endangered Species Act Grants Program, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today. 

The Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF) Recovery Land Acquisition grant for New Jersey will go toward the future acquisition of hundreds of key acres of habitat for the bog turtle, which is found predominately in the northern half of New Jersey.

“Preservation of this unique habitat protects the federally threatened bog turtle, while also enhancing our environment and providing a better quality of life for residents of the state,” Commissioner Martin said. “We are grateful to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for our inclusion in this federal grant program.”

New Jersey is one of 20 states to receive funding to support projects that conserve at-risk species and their habitats.

“These grants will enable state fish and wildlife agencies to advance the stewardship of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources,” said Dave Chanda, Director of DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.

The bog turtle is native only to the eastern United States and is found in the northern half of New Jersey. The species, considered threatened at the federal level and endangered at the state level, congregates in small colonies often of fewer than 20 individuals. They prefer calcareous wetlands (areas containing lime), including meadows, bogs, marshes, and spring seeps, that have both wet and dry regions.

Once the purchases of the properties are completed, the preserved lands will be managed by the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust in cooperation with the DEP’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program. 

Read the full NJDEP news release here 

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