Latest News

We Need Help from ... 9/25/17

We are looking for neighbors that live within half a mile of the preserve to help track changing weather patterns by measuring the depth of snow in their own backyard.

Endangered Karner ... 7/20/17

Twenty-five years after being federally listed as endangered, the APB population of the Karner blue butterfly has exceeded recovery goals for the local population.

See What's Underground!

Native Plant Restoration

Restoring native plant populations is a critical step in the creating and managing a healthy pitch pine — scrub oak barrens, recovering the endangered Karner blue butterfly and effectively managing populations of more than 45 wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Native plant restoration involves collecting, processing and planting a variety of locally-derived native grasses, wildflowers, trees and shrubs. A suite of these species are planted after the removal of black locust clones and have even been used to restore a 4-acre paved parking lot. The Commission has significantly expanded restoration efforts in the Preserve. As of 2011, over 300 acres have been restored and now support populations of Karner blue butterflies and many other Species of Greatest Conservation Need.

Wild blue lupine in a restored area of the Pine Bush.

On some sites where professional forestry techniques are used to remove non-native Black Locust trees the seeds of native plants are planted with a tractor and seed drill. The seed drill places the seeds of lupine, wildflowers and grasses at the proper soil depth and allows the Commission to plant many acres quickly. Native flowers used in these plantings include butterfly milkweed, dotted horsemint and New Jersey Tea. Trees and shrubs such as pitch pine, dwarf prairie willow and scrub oak are also planted into these sites. Once established, these plants will spread naturally, providing quality habitat for not only the Karner blue butterfly but also for many other animals that live in the Pine Bush.

In addition to former locust clones, paved parking lots and abandoned hay fields, the seed drill is also useful in restoring lupine to recently burned pitch pine scrub oak barrens. Irrelevant of the techniques used to initially restore native plant and animal populations to degraded pitch pine — scrub oak barrens, nearly all restoration sites are eventually managed and maintained using prescribed fire.