Team Habitat: Field of Dreams
Since 2004, Team Habitat has planted warm season grasses in New Jersey fields from Bridgeton to Somerset. Our hope to paraphrase the movie, again, is “If you build it, they will come” In our case we create warm season grass fields, hoping that threatened ground nesting birds will repopulate New Jersey.
In 2009, the South Jersey RC&D Council took its Team Habitat program to the next level through the use of two grants. The first grant, a National Fish and Wildlife grant for $50,000, allowed the Council to hire a Team Habitat Manager to better market the program to landowners, provide competitive cost estimates, and plant fields. In the past year and a half, we have planted 83 acres of warm season grass habitats on 10 different properties. The other grant the Council received was a Conserve Wildlife grant for $1,250. Monies from this grant were used to plant five acres of warm season grasses on Halka Nurseries in Cumberland County.
Team Habitat Aquires $50K Grant
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced on January 13, 2009 grant awards in the amount of $650,503 to regional 17 nonprofit organizations, universities and local and county governments to fund projects under the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary Watershed Grants Program (DEWGP) and in coastal New Jersey. This year's grantees will spearhead projects ranging from the restoration and installation of fish passages on creeks in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to providing "free of charge" restoration assistance to landowners, municipalities and watershed organizations in the estuary.
Now in its sixth year, the Delaware Estuary Grants Program has awarded 134 grants, providing over $3.8 million of federal and private funds that were leveraged with an additional $11 million in matching funds raised by grantees. Projects will achieve significant conservation outcomes, including: the restoration of 2,213 acres of wetlands, streams, forests and grasslands for fish and wildlife; the development of 21 watershed management plans to guide and prioritize future local and regional conservation projects; and education, outreach, and training programs offered by local governments and citizen groups.
New Jersey Audubon Society: Jersey Grown Birdseed
A direct farm-to-market link has been established that offers locally grown birdseed through New Jersey Audubon Society nature centers. With support from a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resource Conservation Service of the USDA, New Jersey farmers are working with NJAS to grow a “greener”, more environmentally friendly black-oil sunflower seed. This “bird-friendly” seed is the first birdseed certified as “Jersey Grown” by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.