Monday, March 19, 2012

Updated NJ Threatened and Endangered Species List

Last month saw the first update in 10 years of New Jersey's list of Endangered & Threatened wildlife.

On the positive side, one species was removed due to a population increase - the Cooper's hawk. But 11 species have been added bringing the total to 83 species that are now considered as Endangered & Threatened in NJ. It is already known that #84 will be the Atlantic sturgeon which will be listed as endangered federally on April 1.

In a press release, NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin said that the update "...uses the best scientific methods available to provide us with an accurate assessment of the health of our wildlife. The success of our threatened and endangered wildlife is an important indicator of the health of our overall environment. We have many positive takeaways from this most recent update to the lists, but we are also reminded that much work still lies ahead of us.”

Some of the changes include:
  • A new category for species of special concern for species that warrant special attention due to population declines or vulnerability to habitat disturbances.
  • Seven bird species were upgraded for the non-breeding portion of their populations, including the bald eagle, osprey, peregrine falcon, red-shouldered hawk, northern goshawk, short-eared owl, and vesper sparrow.
  • The bald eagle’s status was upgraded from endangered to threatened for the non-breeding season, reflecting significant population improvements resulting from the discontinuation of DDT and other pesticides, DEP management, habitat protection, improved water quality. The species remains listed as endangered in New Jersey during the breeding season.
  • The Cooper’s hawk was upgraded from threatened to special concern in the breeding season. This species has recovered from the past use of pesticides, and has reoccupied much of the forested habitats in the state.
  • Five species have been added to the endangered list: three birds – the black rail, golden-winged warbler and red knot; the gray petaltail, a species of dragonfly; and the Indiana bat, which is listed as federally endangered.
  • Nine species were added to the threatened species category: three birds, American kestrel, cattle egret and horned lark; and six dragonfly species.
The threatened and endangered species lists, both federally and by states, are important tools in guiding state, federal and local agencies to make sound decisions on projects and better protect wildlife and their habitats.

For a copy of the adopted threatened and endangered species rule incorporating changes to the lists and for general information on New Jersey’s threatened and endangered species, visit:

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