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News Release

Contact:

Evan Madlinger, NRCS Biologist

908-782-4614 extension 3


Forest landowners can help improve habitat for golden winged warbler in northern New Jersey

Apply by February 15 for assistance from USDA-NRCS.

February 6, 2013, Somerset, NJ - The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications until February 15 for the Working Lands for Wildlife Program (WLFW). WLWF focuses on at-risk species. Two species, the Golden-winged warbler and the bog turtle, have been designated as target species for the program in New Jersey.

One of the goals of this program is to create and improve habitat for the Golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera). Golden-winged warblers, a migratory song bird, has been experiencing steep population declines in our region. The species has been proposed for potential listing under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

Contributing to this species’ decline is the loss of young forest habitat across its range. Private land owners can play a pivotal role in creating habitat for this species on their property with as little as 5 or 10 acres. In addition to providing support for Golden-winged warblers, young forests also create important habitat for other declining species like ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) and American woodcock (Scolopax minor), as well as more common game species like eastern turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) .

Because the number of Golden-winged warblers found in New Jersey is low, NRCS, NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service have developed priority areas within the state in which to focus their habitat creation efforts, including portions of Warren, Sussex, Morris, and Passaic counties.

WLWF is offered as part of the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), and applicants to to WLWF must meet eligibility requirements for WHIP. Applicants must own land that is capable of being farmed or land suitable for wildlife habitat, or they must have an interest in an agricultural operation, including forestry, and own or have control of the land under consideration. Land that is currently enrolled in another USDA Farm Bill conservation program such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) is ineligible. Land is also ineligible if it is used for mitigation purposes, or if it is publically owned.

For a map showing the priority areas and for additional information about this program, visit the NRCS website at www.nj.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/whip/WLFW.html.