This conceptual landscape encompasses the shorelines, wetlands, and coupled human-natural systems within near-shore watersheds draining directly to the Atlantic Ocean or bays. The conceptual landscape includes sandy or rocky shores, tidal flats, and coastal marshes as well as the cultural and societal activities that influence or interact with these natural systems.
- Connecting the Dots: International Shorebird Conservation. This program focuses on the conservation of shorebirds from their wintering grounds in South America to their Arctic breeding grounds. Our work addresses major issues that affect shorebird population viability, such as illegal and poorly regulated hunting, habitat loss or degradation from shellfish aquaculture, and climate change. The conservation of shorebirds stopping in Delaware Bay during spring migration and the horseshoe crab eggs they depend on is a primary emphasis of the program. To the latter, NJ Audubon co-founded and co-leads the Horseshoe Crab Recovery Coalition, now a 50-member strong organization that concentrates on ending the harvest of crabs for bait and use in the biomedical industry.
- Underwater!: Marsh Ecology & Conservation in the Face of Sea Level Rise. Sea level rise is a threat to coastal wildlife along the entire Atlantic Coast. Those species that live in the highest reaches of tidal marshes, like the federally threatened Black Rail and Saltmarsh Sparrow are at the greatest risk. Our program focuses on documenting the abundance and distribution of these rare and declining species and using these data to guide habitat restoration and management that ensure long-term viability of these two species.
- Migration Crossroads: Cape May Peninsula is on the most important nexuses for migrating birds in North America. Raptors, waterbirds, shorebirds and landbirds all use habitats on or surrounding (ocean, bay, airways) the Peninsula. Each of the program’s flagship efforts, the Cape May Hawk Watch, the Avalon Seawatch and the Morning Flight Project have been monitoring the passage of southbound migrants for at least 20 years. These long-term datasets have been used to understand species’ population trends and informs our policy work on offshore wind development off the coast of NJ. The newest project in the program, the Cape May Songbird Stopover Project endeavors to understand the ecology of southbound passerines as they stopover on the Cape May Peninsula.