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[C] Conservation | Wildlife




Fish and Wildlife is committed to proactive wildlife conservation activities that prevent species from becoming threatened or endangered, and actions that aid in the recovery of those already listed. Supporting this goal, the New Jersey State Wildlife Action Plan identifies priority species, habitats and conservation actions for the current decade, while CHANJ offers a strategy to achieve essential habitat connectivity across the state.



Quality habitat is essential to the sustained survival of wildlife. Fish and Wildlife’s bureaus of Wildlife Management and Land Management, along with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program, work together to protect and enhance wildlife habitat on state lands. Stewardship activities such as maintaining grasslands, planting trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, opening up the forest canopy, and controlling invasive plants all enhance habitat to favor various species, often those in decline.


frequently asked questions

In New Jersey, threatened and endangered species are protected from direct harm or harassment, and their habitats are protected by several land use regulations that limit development and disturbance of areas identified as such habitat. Threatened and endangered species habitats that are not under the jurisdiction of such regulations are, however, unprotected. Visit NJ DEP Division of Land Resource Protection for more information about land use regulations.
The NJ GeoWeb map application shows many types of environmental data, including habitat “ranks” based on known occurrences of rare wildlife species. Search by address or zoom in to an area of interest. Endangered and threatened wildlife habitats are in a layer called “Landscape” and are displayed as Rank 1 (suitable habitat) through Rank 5 (federally listed species habitat). Exact locations of rare wildlife are not publicly available, to protect these animals from illegal activities and harassment. Rare plant information is available by request from the NJ DEP Office of Natural Lands Management.
Before European settlement, fires likely occurred at least every 20-30 years in northern New Jersey and more frequently in southern New Jersey. That, coupled with strong tree-toppling hurricanes occurring every 85 years or so, helped shape the forest into a mosaic of multi-aged semi-open canopy forests, open-canopy savannahs, shrublands, grasslands, and pockets of old-growth forests. Today’s forests are mostly mature with a closed canopy, lacking a diversity of canopy openings and ages. Because of that, active forest management is needed to restore the mosaic of forest structures and ages that wildlife co-evolved with for the last 10,000 years. Visit the Forest Songbird Project or Sparta Mountain WMA websites for more information.
There are many things you can do in your backyard for wildlife, such as providing food, water, and shelter. Planting native shrubs and wildflowers and maintaining a water source, such as a bird bath, are great ways to attract wildlife to your yard. Larger forest landowners and farmers can also apply for a cost-sharing program with the federal government to do even more for wildlife. Visit NRCS to learn more about these federal programs.
New Jersey has endangered and threatened shorebirds that fly thousands of miles to nest, feed and/or rest on our beaches on the Atlantic Coast and Delaware Bay. These birds need access to the shoreline to feed in order to gain sufficient growth and weight to survive. Human activity in these areas can keep the birds from feeding and prevent successful nesting. Beach-nesting birds like piping plovers, least terns and black skimmers are highly endangered in New Jersey. The NJ DEP actively protects 20-30 seasonal nesting areas, providing these birds with a safe space to raise their young. Visit Beach-nesting Birds to learn more about this delicate balance. Some Delaware Bay beaches have seasonally restricted access from May 7 to June 7 to protect a rapidly-declining population of migrating shorebirds. Delaware Bay is a major migratory stopover along the Atlantic Flyway where shorebirds stop each spring to feed on the fat-rich eggs of the horseshoe crab before heading to the Canadian Arctic to breed. Visit Delaware Bay Shorebirds for more information.


Fish and Wildlife strives to maintain healthy and diverse wildlife populations throughout the state and to maximize recreational benefits through scientifically sound research and management programs. Diverse habitats are managed across 360,000 acres of publicly accessible land within 122 designated Wildlife Management Areas.


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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2023
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625
Last Update: June 2nd, 2022