NJ Audubon Conservation Projects Help Hudson Farm win 2021 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for Healthy Ecosystems & Habitat Category

NJ Audubon congratulates Hudson Farm on being selected by NJDEP as the winner of the 2021 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for Healthy Ecosystems & Habitat Category!

Active forest stewardship on Hudson Farm is key to mitigating climate change impacts as these conservation practices such as forest thinning and larger cutting helps diversify forest age-class and species composition. Photo be John Parke

The Hudson Farm property is over 4,000 acres of permanently preserved forest land in Sussex County (~2% of the total forest land in the county). They manage this land voluntarily through the implementation of their NJDEP-approved Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) along with multiple associated and complementary voluntary conservation projects in collaboration with USDA-NRCS, USFWS, NJDFW, NJ Audubon, NJ Youth Corps of Phillipsburg, and other conservation organizations.

The size of the property as well as its complexity, with intermingled waterbodies, fields, and wetlands, allows Hudson Farm to provide regional ecological uplift. Using the NJDEP Forest Stewardship Plan as a foundation, Hudson Farm performs ecological forestry practices on an annual basis.  These practices include stand thinning, prescribed burning, tree planting, and invasive species control.  Beyond forestry, Hudson Farm has also performed stream and water quality restorations, wetland restoration, riparian buffering, and native grassland restorations to the benefit of natural resource protection and declining wildlife species.

A 30-acre wetland restoration completed in 2021 at Hudson Farm by NJ Audubon, NJ Youth Corps of Phillipsburg, USFWS and NRCS. With funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and NRCS this project became NJ’s first Black Duck Working Lands for Wildlife project. Photo by John Parke

In recent years, NJ Audubon has led several restoration and research projects at Hudson Farm that directly provide state/regional/community benefits including enhanced biodiversity, improved surface water infiltration, increased habitat, reduced soil erosion, and improved forest resiliency and functionality.  Importantly, these projects are not 1-step efforts.  Each project requires annual stewardship (maintenance and monitoring) to maintain the quality of the restoration work.  With many on-going conservation projects running in parallel, it is important to maintain focus on the overarching and unifying goals. In the last year alone Hudson Farm, working with conservation partners, implemented over 130-acres and 1.5 miles of habitat restoration/stewardship on its property, as well as wildlife monitoring projects for American Kestrel, Golden-winged Warbler and Ruffed Grouse.

Hudson Farm is very grateful for receiving this award and working with the NJ Audubon Society for the past 10 years and other environmental conservation groups,” said Steve Polanish of Hudson Farm. “We look forward to continuing this work and seeing a variety of wildlife benefit from these projects.”

NJ Audubon supports the stewardship of New Jersey’s habitat and promotes a conservation ethic among citizens of the state. That said, NJ Audubon would like to again congratulate Hudson Farm, thank them for collaborating with us, and allowing us to help them achieve their vision of environmental excellence on the property! Your efforts to restore critical habitat for many species of wildlife in New Jersey are greatly appreciated!

NJ Audubon would also like to extend our congratulations to the rest of the 2021 Environmental Excellence Award winners and commend them for their efforts to make New Jersey a better place for people and wildlife!  The awards ceremony can be viewed here and the award presentation to Hudson Farm and associated project video can be viewed at the 19:02 mark.