Wednesday, August 10, 2016

On New Jersey's Endangered Species Program

Peregrine falcons

New Jersey Monthly did a nice feature story on New Jersey's endangered species recently. It is a nice overview of the more than 80 species — from birds to bobcats — that are in danger because of loss of habitat and other man-made threats. These species come range from 1.5-inch bronze copper butterfly to the 60,000-pound humpback whale.

Another threat in our state is funding. The ENSP program charged with protecting NJ’s endangered and threatened wildlife has a budget of only $2.5 million to cover its 14-person staff and all its projects. ENSP must protect and manage the state’s nearly 500 wildlife species—including those that are endangered or threatened.

Funds come from federal aid, including State Wildlife Grants and Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program funding, along with state appropriations, a state income tax checkoff and revenue from Conserve Wildlife license plates - not from your taxes.

The article points out that the ENSP would need 10 times its budget to fully implement even 80 percent of the projects in its Wildlife Action Plan, a federally mandated outline of the steps needed to conserve wildlife and habitat.

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