Conservationists SUPPORT Sparta Mountain WMA Plan

Normally, the NJ Division Allegheny SAF does not involve itself in individual projects.  However, given the large amount of misinformation regarding this Plan and this property, we have an obligation to help inform the conversation.

Please take this time to educate yourself before submitting a comment or making a policy decision.

Click here to read information from NJ Audubon regarding this Plan and project.

Click here to view the webpage on the DEP Division of Fish & Wildlife’s website where the Plan is posted, and where you can submit your comments to DEP.

Let’s start with some pictures. There have been some old pictures circulating from 2012 or so.  This is what those areas looked like in 2015.

Forest regeneration following 2012 habitat management cuts

Forest regeneration following 2012 habitat management cuts

Dense oak and northern hardwoods regeneration in wildlife management cut at SMWMA

Dense oak and northern hardwoods regeneration in wildlife management cut at SMWMA

And there is plenty of wildlife…

Baltimore oriole feeding at wildlife management cut at SMWMA

Baltimore oriole feeding at wildlife management cut at SMWMA

Indigo bunting in wildlife management cut at SMWMA

Indigo bunting in wildlife management cut at SMWMA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for a letter from Charlie Newlon to a concerned homeowner in the area.

Click here for a letter sent to municipalities where Sparta Mountain WMA is located.

We are currently tracking at least 10 statewide conservation organizations who are planning on submitting positive comments regarding the Sparta Mountain WMA Plan.  As we receive them, we will post them below:

Frequently Asked Questions (courtesy of NJ Audubon)

What is the NJ Audubon’s involvement at Sparta Mountain?

One of our many is a resilient forest containing a variety of wildlife habitats. One of those habitats are for species who thrive in young high sunlight forests. Over 200 species will directly benefit from this project; including the regionally endangered Golden Winged Warbler.

Will this involve harvesting trees?

Yes. There are several methods of vegetation management proposed within the plan to help create different habitats for different wildlife.

Is the NJ Audubon benefiting from the sale of the timber harvested?

No. The state of New Jersey administers all contracts, and they receive any revenue generated from the sale of forest products. The planning costs were paid for through grants from the National Forest Foundation, the US Forest Service, and other conservation minded organizations.

Old growth forests are a difficult resource to replace. How do we know this action will be successful?

In the early 1900’s Sparta Mountain was essentially devoid of trees due to the intense logging and mining. As parts of Sparta Mountain are left to continue maturing, old growth forests will once again become part of the forest mosaic at Sparta WMA.

Unregulated logging has been linked to many negative environmental impacts. What actions are being undertaken to prevent harmful impacts?

The forestry activities being conducted at Sparta Mountain comply with all of laws and standards designed by the scientists at the NJDEP and the Highland Council to protect water quality and natural resources. Much of this is accomplished by employing scientifically proven Best Management Practices for forestry. Our full plan and proposal , including our guidelines for environmental impact and certifications may be viewed at: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/2015/spartamt_plan.pdf

What kind of oversight is in place to make sure the logging company is following them?

The project is being conducted under the approval of all environmental divisions and offices within the NJDEP. Additionally, the work has been audited annually by an independent third party the Rainforest Alliance whose credentials may be viewed at:

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org

The work has been certified as meeting the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) since 2012.. Details on FSC certification may be viewed here: https://us.fsc.org/en-us/certification