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Connecting Habitat Across New Jersey (CHANJ)

 
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Connect with CHANJ
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Tools of CHANJ
Explore our statewide CHANJ Mapping and Guidance Document, as well as other resources to guide your habitat connectivity efforts.

Projects & Partners
A growing reel of accomplishments and ongoing projects related to CHANJ.

Featured Species
Profiles of animals which depend on a connected landscape.

Making Headlines
Salamandars Crossing: This Way To the Vernal Pool! - JSTOR Daily, 4/9/19
CHANJ Seeks to Get Nature Together Again - The Sandpaper.net, 11/28/18
Watch for Turtles Crossing Roadways - DEP News Release, 6/19/18
New Underground Tunnel to Help Wildlife Cross Road - DEP News Release, 6/4/15

Related Efforts
How wildlife bridges over highways make animals—and people—safer - National Geographic, 4/16/19
This is why we need wildlife crossings - Mother Nature Network, 12/10/18

What's New
Location of motion-activated camera
Special beam-break motion cameras are now being used to help monitor wildlife movement through road passage systems. Read about various CHANJ Projects & Partners.


Whether they’re small like a salamander or big and wide-roaming like a bear, animals need to be able to move through the landscape to find food, shelter, mates, and other resources. Without that ability to move, healthy populations simply will not persist over the long term. Here in New Jersey, wildlife are up against steady urbanization, a dense network of roads, and now a changing climate, all of which put the connectedness of our habitats and wildlife populations in jeopardy.


New Jersey at a Cross-roads

Right now, our state’s final landscape is being decided. Urbanized land is already the dominant land use type – covering more than 30% of the state – and NJ is on track to reach build-out by the middle of this century (Hasse & Lathrop 2010). With more development come more roads, and busier roads, further fragmenting the habitats we have left and making it increasingly difficult for wildlife to find the resources they need to survive and thrive.

Fortunately, NJ is also a recognized leader in preserving open spaces for recreation, agriculture, and nature. Nearly one-third of the state’s land mass is now in permanent preservation, thanks to steadfast public support and tremendous capital investments. In fact, NJ boasts a higher percentage of publicly-owned forest land than any other state east of the Mississippi (Widmann 2004). We must move quickly and purposefully to build on this strong foundation if we are to secure a legacy of healthy, connected ecosystems.

Time for CHANJ

Connecting Habitat Across New Jersey (CHANJ) is an effort to make our landscape and roadways more permeable for terrestrial wildlife by identifying key areas and actions needed to achieve habitat connectivity across the state. CHANJ offers two main products – statewide Mapping and a Guidance Document – to help prioritize land protection, inform habitat restoration and management, and guide mitigation of road barrier effects on wildlife and their habitats:

CHANJ Mapping Image
(DEP Mapping)
Guidance Document Cover Image
(pdf, 16mb)
For more information about these products and for additional resources, visit Tools of CHANJ.
References

Hasse, J.E. and R.G. Lathrop. 2010. Changing Landscapes In the Garden State: Urban Growth and Open Space Loss In NJ 1986 thru 2007 (pdf, Rowan University). Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ U.S.A.

Widmann, R.H. 2004. Forests of the Garden State (pdf, USDA). United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Resource Bulletin NE-163. Newtown Square, PA U.S.A.

Map of black bear movements
Wide-roaming animals like the Black Bear require big swaths of habitat with safe corridors for movement.
Bobcat at night
Habitat fragmentation and roads are two of the biggest challenges for NJ’s endangered Bobcats.
Photo by Tyler Christensen
Terrapin on road
Slow-footed, late to mature, and strongly tied to a home range, turtles are among the most vulnerable animals to habitat fragmentation and roads.
Biologist exhibiting amphibian eggs
Biologist Brian Zarate holds a salamander egg mass while discussing an amphibian road-crossing project in Sussex Co.
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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: April 24, 2019