November 18, 2013
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has hired a contractor to harvest 5 acres of sawlogs and firewood on Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area beginning in late November, 2013, through April, 2014. The site, outlined in yellow on the area map, is near a powerline right-of-way and Collins Pond in the center of the Sussex County WMA. The project is intended to create habitat for imperiled species like the golden-winged warbler which need the dense structure of reverting forest interspersed with shrubs and herbaceous vegetation in order to nest.
Many species of birds are "shrub specialists", and like the golden-winged warbler, require young forest habitat for nesting. Many other bird and wildlife species use dense, early successional forest for feeding and cover. The warbler has historically nested in the region especially along powerline rights-of-way, and in recent years its numbers have plummeted. It was designated as a state endangered species in 2012.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife has partnered with NJ Audubon Society to implement habitat improvement projects on Sparta Mt WMA. This small harvest is a continuation of a project begun in 2011 to improve habitat adjacent to the powerline right-of-way for the golden-winged warbler. It is the third small harvest to date on the WMA.
For more information on the harvest, contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife's Bureau of Land Management: Miriam.Dunne@dep.state.nj.us.