March 17, 2014
Despite unusually heavy snow and cold temperatures, forest management will be initiated at Weldon Brook WMA in March, 2014, to benefit imperiled wildlife. The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) hired forestry consultants Gracie and Harrigan Consulting Foresters, Inc. to develop a forest stewardship plan which guides activities at Weldon Brook for the next 10 years (see the Weldon Brook WMA Forest Stewardship Plan).
The plan has undergone extensive review within the Department of Environmental Protection as well as from external stakeholders (comments may still be submitted at www.njfishandwildlife.com/weldonbrook_comments.htm). The DFW has contracted with Greentown Logging of Pennsylvania to harvest sawlogs and firewood on approximately 25 acres of the 1551 acre property (see map). Assistance with implementing the plan has come from the Wildlife Management Institute and the Skylands Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society.
The primary goal for this work is to diversify tree stand ages and provide habitat for a greater variety of wildlife. Habitat conditions will be created for the the golden-winged warbler, a state endangered species. Many species of birds are "shrub specialists", and like the golden-winged warbler, require young forest habitat for nesting. Many other bird and wildlife species use dense young forest structure for feeding and cover. Golden-winged warblers have historically nested in the region especially along powerline rights-of-way, and in recent years their numbers have plummeted. Stand age diversity, while helping wildlife, is ultimately beneficial to forest health and adaptation to disturbance and change over time.
For more information on the plan please contact habitat biologist for the project, Miriam Dunne at Miriam.Dunne@dep.state.nj.us.