Located on one of the Atlantic Flyway’s busiest flight paths, the refuge is renowned for its winged migrations and is actively managed for migratory birds. As coastal development encroaches on nearby Atlantic City and other communities on the New Jersey shore, the refuge is crucial, not only to protect the hundreds of thousands of water birds that nest and feed there, but also to help protect the coast from the impacts of damaging storms.

The Forsythe NWR was established to provide important wintering habitat for waterfowl, especially the Atlantic brant and the American black duck—a species which has suffered dramatic population declines in recent years. More than 5,000 acres at the refuge are covered with woodlands, which provide vital habitat for a variety of upland species such as songbirds, woodcock, white-tailed deer and box turtles.

Our Role

In 2008 we worked with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to plant trees on nine acres of forestland and sensitive wildlife habitat across public recreation areas at the refuge. The trees, provided by Virginia-based Conservation Services Inc., are now being managed by USFWS for habitat and public recreation.

Why This Project Matters

Healthy coastal marshes and woodlands are the first line of defense to protect communities from the impacts of rising seas and severe storms. In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused more than $20 million in damage to the refuge’s habitat. While Forsythe and other New Jersey refuges repair the extensive damage, we’re partnering with USFWS to find ways to increase the refuge’s resiliency in the event of future storms.

“The Edwin B. Forsythe Refuge is one of the places where the Fund is working to improve the resiliency of the Atlantic coast to the impacts of climate change and reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities to damage from future storms. The real opportunity is to take the lessons we’ve learned from our work on the Gulf Coast and apply them to the challenges faced on the densely populated Eastern seaboard.”
--Ben Spinelli, New Jersey Field Representative, The Conservation Fund

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