You have made a difference!

Piping Plovers at the Refuge

Piping plovers, an endangered beach-nesting bird, increased 33% statewide in nesting pairs last year.  Nesting pairs went from 103 to 137 in 2021 according to Senior Wildlife Biologist, Todd Pover in a Conserve Wildlife Foundation blog post. Two new sites for breeding pairs in Cape May County were in Strathmere and The Two Mile Beach Unit. 
Both sites are within the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. Cape May County was once a thriving location for piping plovers in New Jersey but had been in decline. In 2018 there were only 3 pairs remaining and in 2021 there were 15 pairs as a result of recolonization efforts. The Friends of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge thanks everyone who has contributed to our success last summer by staying off the closed beach during the migration and nesting
season and to those who have walked their dogs in off-Refuge dog friendly locations. 
You have made a difference!

  • Thank you to our Refuge Friend and Member Kathy Quattrone for this extraordinary photo & description of Osprey mother and chick:

    “Only-chick (front) and his momma in their nest...my, how he has grown. He shows his young age with his white-tipped feathers and slightly deeper eye color, but he is almost her size now. He will perfect his fishing skills during August before they migrate south in September.” -Kathy Quattrone

Read Our Newsletter!

Our Newsletter

CELEBRATING THE EARTH!
CLICK HERE to READ!

Cape May National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of three units....

The Great Cedar  Swamp Division is at the northern end of the refuge in Dennis and Upper Townships.  Habitats such as salt marsh, hardwood swamp, bog, grasslands and large tracts of forested uplands are used by wildlife such as blue-winged warblers, ovenbirds, and short-eared owls. The refuge connects with a state forest and the Pineland National Reserve. 

Where in New Jersey is the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge?

The Cape May National Wildlife Refuge is located within the Cape May peninsula, the southernmost point in the state of New Jersey.  Because of its unique geography, the peninsula offers stunning views of sunrise to the east over the water of the Atlantic Ocean, and of sunset to the west over the water of the Delaware Bay.  The Refuge currently protects over 11,000 acres of peninsula habitat in its 3 refuge units: the Great Cedar Swamp Division, the Delaware Bay Division and the Two-Mile Beach Unit. These 3 units represent unique, diverse habitats: forested hardwood swamp, river estuary and ocean barrier island.   VIEW MAP

OUR MISSION

Friends of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge 
is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is:


• To promote awareness of the Cape May Refuge and surrounding natural areas

• To foster public understanding, appreciation and support of the Cape May Refuge and National Wildlife Refuge System

• To advocate for the conservation and protection of wildlife, plants & their habitats in our community for the benefit of current and future generations.

SNOWY VISITORS AT TWO MILE BEACH

If you see one of our majestic snowy visitors, please remember to maintain a respectful distance of at least 50 feet- The Friends of Cape May NWR have loaner binoculars and a spotting scope available for use at the Nature Store at Two Mile Beach.

Restoration Project Complete!

Marsh Restoration project at Cape May NWR complete!

Despite the challenges we've all faced this year, the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge has been diligently working on a marsh restoration project.  This project first began in 2014 after receiving funding from the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Program and was completed this year!  Please see the press release below and the attached Fact Sheet for details on the project.  The employees at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge hope you are safe and encourage you to visit refuge lands to enjoy the outdoors! https://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ref=cape-may-national-wildlife-refuge-marsh-restoration-project-protects-&_ID=36798

HONEYBEES?

IT'S OUR NATIVE BEES THAT NEED THE BUZZ

Please check out this great article and how you can help by planting certain Flowers they love.... https://choosenatives.org/articles/native-bees-need-buzz/

Native Birds - Plant Wisely

Native Birds - Plant Wisely

Native birds, insects and wildlife cannot and will not eat non-native plants.
For the sake of our birds and wildlife, please choose ‘native plants’ for your gardens.
https://plants.usda.gov/java/
And DO NOT use pesticides or herbicides on your grassy areas!
For more information, check out the eye opening findings and writings of University of Delaware entomologist, Douglas Tallamy.

What To Do If You Find Baby Wildlife

What To Do If You Find Baby Wildlife

Spring is here, and with it comes baby wildlife season. As the warm season progresses, the chance of encountering young animals from baby birds to lone deer fawns to baby squirrels in our backyards and neighborhoods increases.

What should you do–and not do–if you find a baby animal in your yard or neighborhood? Read on to find out.

Watch out for the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive species....

It is slowly and surely making its way through the eastern region! Invasive species compete with (often out competing) the more sensitive native plants and wildlife. The Spotted Lanternfly will bore into the bark of trees and eat the phloem; which transports nutrients through the tree, eventually killing it. For more information on identifying and how to get rid of the pest please see the information below or visit https://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/spottedlanternfly.html

Tidal Marsh Restoration Area

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cape May National Wildlife Refuge....

manages property along the Delaware Bay including the Reeds Beach parcel. Reeds Beach includes a roughly 100-acre tidal marsh restoration area threatened by the effects of sea level rise, severe storms, and human intervention creating a stressed environment; which has led to marsh loss and conversion to open water, affecting the plant and wildlife in the area.

As part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Cape May NWR mission, the refuge began taking action in2014 when it was awarded Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Program funding to reduce the growing risks from threats such as coastal storms, flooding, and erosion. Through this program funding, the USFWS and a contractor studied and designed a restoration plan for the 100 acre Reeds Beach parcel.

It was concluded that to best way to restore the ecosystem was to alleviate excess water from sitting on the surface of the marsh. Less water sitting on the marsh would allow the plants to become healthier which would allow the plant roots to hold and trap more sediment allowing the marsh to grow and keep up with sea level rise.

The restoration at Reeds Beach began in 2017 when10,000 feet of runnels were created over 48 acres. Runnels are shallow excavations created in a sinuous way to mimic natural creeks and streams. The runnels were created to connect low lying areas to existing creeks using a ditcher mounted on an amphibious tracked vehicle called a Marsh Master that has extremely low ground pressure. The ditcher cuts into the soil and thinly spreads the removed soil over the marsh.

In the fall of 2019, Cape May NWR launched the next phase of the Reeds Beach marsh restoration, by creating more runnels in the remaining 52 acres in-house with a smaller USFWS Marsh Master. As the marsh soil is very soft and muddy, it is easy for one’s foot to sink 2-3 feet into the muck; leading to difficulty for the Marsh Master. Over 1,000 feet of runnels were created, though the smaller machine was not adequate for the weight of the ditcher, so the Cape May NWR staff went back to the drawing board.

In the fall of 2020, Cape May NWR was able to dig the remaining 9,931 feet of runnels with the original larger Marsh Master, completing the construction phase in the Reeds Beach marsh . This final phase would not have been possible if not for funding that was provided by Ducks Unlimited, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and the Friends of Cape May NWR. In previous years, the Friends of Cape May NWR financially supported refuge interns. This financial support was used as a matching source in order to obtain a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant.

Cape May NWR believes that this habitat restoration will improve vegetation health and provide enhanced habitat for wildlife including American black duck, saltmarsh sparrow, diamondback terrapin, and many fish and shellfish. The Reeds Beach marsh unit will be monitored through the coming years to measure the success of the restoration project by looking at vegetation changes, marsh elevation changes, water level changes, and species abundance just to name a few. To date, low lying flooded formerly non-vegetated areas adjacent to runnels have begun to vegetate once again. This project is a great education opportunity for saltmarsh health, how marshes buffer the coast and communities from storms, sea level rise and marsh restoration work.

  • Beach Buggies

  • Beach Buggies

  • Beach Buggies

  • Beach Buggies

  • Beach Buggies

We had 3 piping plover chicks born on TMBU last week!

For the past week, volunteers have kept watch from dawn to dusk over the 3 Piping Plover chicks that were born on July 13 at our Two Mile Beach Unit Refuge.

As tiny as cotton balls and blending in with the sand and terrain, this was no easy task! Unfortunately, 2 of the 3 chicks succumbed to predators even though both parents diligently watched & closely followed their chicks -who do not fledge for 30 days but were born running it seems. Predators include crows, gulls, ghostcrabs, feral cats, raccoons, coyotes, etc.  
(Also of note, the nesting, hatching & ‘brooding’ of endangered birds like the Piping Plover is one of the reasons why our Two Mile Beach Unit is closed from April 1 to September 30. The TMBU is closed in compliance with Environmental Laws protecting the resting, nesting, and feeding of ALL migratory birds-hence the reason humans and pets are prohibited from entering the beach during that time. We thank you for your diligence!)

BEACH CLEAN UP

BEACH CLEAN UP

First Family Event of 2022: Saturday, March 26 from 12-3 PM

Join us for our final beach cleanup before THE BEACH AREA of TMBU closes on April 1. Every year, according to Federal Environmental Laws, the beach area closes until September 30 to protect the beach nesting of endangered birds and the migratory bird population who stop for an undisturbed rest on our peninsula. We provide the equipment - children and families are welcome!

Rain Barrel Demonstration

Saturday, May 21 at 11:00 am