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New Jersey NRCS Announces Salem River Bog Turtle Protection and Restoration Project

Picture of a Bog Turtle

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications from eligible landowners to enroll private land into conservation easements under the Salem River Bog Turtle Protection and Restoration Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

Hamilton Square, N.J., Jan. 10,  2024 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in New Jersey is now accepting applications from eligible landowners to enroll private land into conservation easements under the Salem River Bog Turtle Protection and Restoration Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Applications that meet eligibility and ranking criteria received by February 9, 2024 will be considered for 2024 funding.

The bog turtle, Glyptemys muhlenbergii, is the official state reptile of New Jersey and is a federally threatened and state endangered species, seeing a more than 50% decline over the past several decades. The Salem River Bog Turtle Protection and Restoration project looks to address to restore, enhance, and protect occupied and potential bog turtle habitat, and to improve connectivity between public and private lands through habitat restoration, agricultural best management practices, and land acquisition. Easement activities will ensure long-term protection of both bog turtle
nesting habitat and corridor habitat that will increase connectivity and movement between suitable bog turtle habitat.

In Southern New Jersey, the Upper Salem River Watershed is considered a stronghold for this species. The Salem River Bog Turtle Protection and Restoration project will focus on applications from the Upper Salem River Watershed as seen in the map below.

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is a partner-driven approach to conservation that funds solutions to natural resource challenges on agricultural land. RCPP provides a targeted, science-based approach to restoring and
protecting habitat while strengthening rural economies and cultivating collaboration among conservation partners. By leveraging collective resources and collaborating on common goals, RCPP demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships in delivering results for agriculture and conservation.

Eligible local conservation organizations are to submit applications with the required supporting documents, available through your local USDA Service Center and online at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted, by February 9, 2024.

NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs year-round and they’re processed when funding becomes available. Interested producers can learn more about New Jersey Farm Bill programs on the NRCS NJ website.

Map of Upper Salem River Watershed