Saturday, April 17, 2010

200 acres in Warren County preserved to protect the endangered bog turtle (4/17/10)

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Jersey's Green Acres program has received $300,000 in federal money to purchase 200 environmentally sensitive acres in Warren County to help protect the endangered bog turtle, Sen. Frank Lautenberg's office announced this week.

The land in Frelinghuysen Township is the current site of the Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center and abuts 800 acres of permanently protected habitat.

The bog turtle, on New Jersey's endangered list and on the federal threatened list, is a tiny dark turtle with a distinct orange patch on either side of the head. It is among the smallest and most secretive of North America's turtles, measuring about 3 inches long. They live in limestone fens, bogs and wet, grassy pastures.

The New Jersey Natural Lands Trust will manage the property, said Tom Wells, director of government relations with the Nature Conservancy's New Jersey chapter.

The money came out of the federal Interior Department's Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, part of a multistate effort to protect the habitat of threatened and endangered species.

"Keeping natural habitats pristine and undisturbed is important for the wildlife and the people of New Jersey," Lautenberg said in a statement. "The bog turtle is a key part of our ecosystem and must be protected."

— James M. O'Neill

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