ACUA News

07/02/13

Wildlife thrives at ACUA facilities

Various observers have recorded more than 140 different species of birds at ACUA's Environmental Park throughout the seasons. Aside from nesting birds, numerous Neotropical migrant songbirds as well as birds of prey (also known as raptors) pause during migration to utilize ACUA woodlands and grasslands as ‘layover’ habitat. Layover habitat is critical to migrants for rest and nourishment along their hemispheric trek.

Grassland bird species thrive on the grassy slopes of the closed landfill cells. Birds such as Eastern Meadowlark, Horned Lark, and Killdeer are known to breed here during the spring and summer. 

Wintering grassland species such as Snow Bunting and American Pipit migrate to this location to spend a comparatively mild winter from their regular nesting habitat in the frigid Arctic. Two more grassland species, the Savannah and Grasshopper Sparrow, which are on New Jersey's threatened and endangered species list, have also been visitors to the landfill and are likely nesters as well.

The southern New Jersey coastal region is a globally significant migratory fly way for hundreds of bird species and raptors are no exception. Thermal updrafts caused by the geographic presence of the ACUA landfill assist migrant birds of prey as they overfly the region. A rare Golden Eagle was observed ‘kettling’ with other raptors, soaring high over the landfill as it wandered south on November 4, 2005.

Bluebird Trail
A well-established trail of bluebird houses attracts cavity nesting birds annually, but not always the Eastern Bluebirds they were designed for. In alternating years Tree Swallows and House Wrens out-compete the bluebirds for this precious nesting resource. A few of the boxes placed along the nature trail in the Atlantic White-cedar bogs along Jarrett’s Run have been taken over by Red Squirrels.

Red and Gray Squirrels, Skunk, Ground Hogs, Raccoons, Opossums, Chipmunks, Red Fox and White-tailed Deer are some of the mammals found in the park. Numerous reptiles and amphibians also inhabit the park. One of the first true indicators of spring is the high piping sound of the abundant Spring Peeper, a tiny native frog. Other species of frogs and toads along with various snakes and turtles, including Snapping and Painted Turtles are found in low lying and wetland areas of the Environmental Park.

ACUA's Wastewater Treatment Facility is located on City Island in Atlantic City. The island is virtually surrounded by salt marsh, the Absecon Wildlife Management Area, and the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. This location makes the presence of avian wildlife an everyday occurrence. Many species of waterfowl, gulls, wading birds, shore birds, and raptors frequent the facility's surrounding habitat. The plant provides nesting opportunities for other birds. Black Ducks, Mallards and Canada Geese have consistently nested and raised young at the site. Also, the Equalization Basin is surrounded by a heavily utilized roosting habitat for various species of large shore birds-Great and Snowy Egrets, Great Blue and Night Herons...

ACUA had made special provisions in order to attract nesting Ospreys to the surrounding salt marsh. In the spring of 1988, two nesting platforms were erected. Two additional platforms were constructed in the spring of 1992. These nesting platforms have since been moved to relocate the nesting ospreys away from the New Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm located at the Wastewater site.



 
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