New Jersey DEP Receives Grant to Protect Cape May Wetlands
The Department of Environmental Protection has received a $1 million federal grant that will be used to protect ecologically sensitive wetlands parcels in Cape May County that provide habitat to migratory birds.
The DEP’s Green Acres Program will use the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program grant to assist in the acquisition of five parcels owned by two separate entities totaling 140 acres in Middle Township.
The parcels will be added to the 17,000-acre Cape May Wetlands Wildlife Management Area, which provides critical habitat for numerous species of birds.
“The Christie Administration is committed to preservation of open space to ensure an improved quality of life for our residents,” Commissioner Bob Martin said. “This grant will enable the DEP to protect ecologically sensitive coastal wetlands both for recreation and wildlife habitat.”
“The DEP and the Division of Fish and Wildlife are extremely proud of our Wildlife Management Areas, which provide opportunities for hiking, fishing, hunting, bird watching, wildlife viewing, photography and many other outdoor pursuits,” said Amy Cradic, Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “This grant will help us expand one of the larger but lesser known Wildlife Management Areas in the state.”
The Cape May Wetlands Wildlife Management Area, which consists of various parcels generally located between the Garden State Parkway and the barrier islands, provides habitat for one of the most significant concentrations of migratory birds in the world.
The lower Cape May peninsula is an important stopover for a variety of shorebirds, including the red knot, more than 130 neo-tropical passerines, and 16 species of raptors. It also provides significant habitat for nesting water birds, water fowl, and rare plants and animals.
The Green Acres Program is currently negotiating the acquisitions with the owners of the properties. When acquired, the Division of Fish and Wildlife will manage the properties.
The federal grant program provides money for the acquisition, restoration or enhancement of coastal wetlands and adjacent uplands to provide long-term conservation benefits to fish, wildlife and their habitat. Other states receiving funds include Alaska, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia and Washington.