The state Department of Environmental Protection is looking for the public’s help in developing a new State Wildlife Action Plan.

According to DEP spokesman Larry Hajna, the action plan serves as a blueprint “that will guide the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s conservation efforts and decisions over the next decade.”

He said for that reason, “it’s a really important document that accesses the current state of various species of wildlife and what threats they face, and what actions can be taken to help protect them.”

Hajna points out the Action Plan, which is now open for public comment (see a draft here), “includes some 656 species of greatest conservation need.”

“Of these, there are 107 focal species that will be the subject of even more intense research and habitat management efforts.”

He said this list includes “bird species such as American woodcock, northern harrier, piping plover and peregrine falcon, fish species include brook trout, shortnose sturgeon, Atlantic sturgeon.”

Courtesy Larry Hajna, NJ DEP

“Reptile and amphibian species such as northern scarlet snake, bog turtle, New Jersey chorus frog and northern diamondback terrapin, and the list of mammals includes the little brown bat, Indiana bat and Allegheny woodrat.”

Courtesy Ben Wurst, NJ DEP

Hajna said the idea here is to “identify these species, their habitats, where they are going, where they have been.”

He noted the last time the State Wildlife Action Plan was updated was about a decade ago.

“The new one will go for the next 10 years or so. That’s why we want the public to participate and help provide us whatever input they can to help us focus in on these species.”

He said by gathering information from the public it will help officials “identify potential threats, potential concerns, let us know where they believe the species are occurring.”

Hajna added here’s a very active conservation community in New Jersey.

“We really need their on-the-ground eyes, as well as the public’s to make sure we put forward the best plan possible.”

You can submit comments online at: www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensp/waphome.htm

You can also send written comments to :

Wildlife Action Plan Comments
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Fish and Wildlife
PO Box 420, MC 501-03
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420

The public comment period will be open until Jan. 19, 2018.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

Also on WOBM: