Baldpate habitat restoration project

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Sourland Stewards volunteers are involved in the planning and implementation of a complex restoration initiative that furthers the extensive restoration work already done to improve habitat at this exemplary nature preserve that hosts a number of State Endangered plant and animal species.

These Stewardship Leaders have engaged in planning and fieldwork beginning in 2017 and have arrived at the following goals: 1. Restore holistically with the intention of uplifting overall ecological health and quality; 2. Maintain or improve neotropical migrant bird habitat including for species of concern; 3. Maintain or expand habitat for state-listed (S2) plant species 4. Use the restoration as an educational opportunity, and to model for similar restoration scenarios throughout our region.

The restoration project is taking place within an area of ash tree decline. Of 22 remaining live ash trees in the restoration area, only four appear to be healthy according to our monitoring results. Properties and preserves throughout the region face the challenge of how to respond to ash die-off, and our project is designed to educate the general public about realistic restoration scenarios. All the while, the Sourland Steward volunteers engaged in the project are also becoming educated about ecological restoration, with the expectation that they will bring these skills to other natural areas in the region and lead cadres of stewardship volunteers doing critical stewardship work.

Another objective is to expand the educational aspect of this project to better reach the general public with our monitoring and restoration results and practices.