The Division of Fish and Wildlife is preparing for a large-scale restoration project at the Paulinskill River WMA, located in Hampton and Andover Townships, Sussex County. The project falls within the Hyper Humus section of the WMA, formerly a peat and humus mining operation belonging to Scotts-Hyponex.
Ducks Unlimited is funding the effort to control invasive Phragmites and water chestnut (Trapa natans) within the Hyper Humus ponds. Water chestnut is an aquatic plant that forms dense floating mats which outcompete native plant communities. Its decay can deplete oxygen levels, leading to fish kills.
In addition to hand-pulling water chestnut plants, the herbicide Rodeo (active ingredient glyphosate) has been applied to water chestnut infestations at Hyper Humus ponds over the past several years. While a systemic herbicide would be more effective in killing viable seeds and other aquatic invasive plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil, Rodeo is the herbicide of choice as it provides for no activity once applied to water and therefore has no effect on non-target species, including rare and endangered aquatic plants which might be found at Hyper Humus.
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Phragmites is an aggressive wetland grass that outcompetes native plants and may displace native wildlife. A motorized amphibious vehicle will be used in August, 2018, and again in August, 2019, to apply an aquatic-approved glyphosate-based product to Phragmites. Application of the herbicide at this time of year will minimize impacts on nesting and migrating birds that use this area.
The The Nature Conservancy is overseeing the large restoration project that intends to dechannelize the Paulinskill River and restore a variety of natural habitats. Preliminary soil, hydrology and biological sampling have been completed. A stakeholder meeting was held in June to solicit public input. TNC contracted the Louis Berger Group to develop three conceptual design plans based on the findings from field sampling, input from local stakeholders, and the mission of the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
For more information, please contact Melissa Woerner at Melissa.Woerner@dep.nj.gov.
Habitat Management Projects Page