Commissioner Announces Upgraded Protections for Endangered
Campbell also unveiled a traveling exhibit celebrating
30 years of endangered species protection in NJ
TRENTON (03/99) - Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell
today announced plans to protect the habitats of New Jersey's
threatened and endangered species, making New Jersey a national
leader in wildlife protection.
"New Jersey was among the earliest
leaders in species protection. New Jersey's law actually
predated the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, but
our landmark law was never implemented through regulation,"
Campbell said. "I have directed my staff to develop
needed standards, 30 years overdue, that will extend protection
for New Jersey's threatened and endangered species to upland
habitats. This will not only put New Jersey at the forefront
of endangered species protection, but it also will be an
important tool in Governor McGreevey's war on sprawl."
Campbell made the announcement at Liberty
State Park in Jersey City during a celebration of the 30th
anniversary of New Jersey's Endangered Species Conservation
Act and the creation of the DEP's Endangered and Nongame
Existing regulations do a good job of protecting
listed species that occur in wetlands and in the Pinelands
area, but the regulations often fail to protect species
found elsewhere, the Commissioner said. Critical habitat
regulations to be proposed later this year will use the
state's Landscape Project - a Geographic Information Systems
(GIS) database of known habitats for threatened and endangered
species - to protect upland habitats, as well.
The regulations will be incorporated into
the Blueprint for Intelligent Growth (BIG) Map, one of the
department's prime tools in combating sprawl. The color-coded
map will allow for expedited development in appropriate
areas, while clearly identifying areas where builders and
developers will be subject to tougher standards.
The planned regulations Campbell outlined
would require habitat conservation plans whenever new development
occurs in environmentally sensitive areas that serve as
habitat for threatened or endangered species. These provisions
would be comparable to protections extended to federally
protected species, protections that deem habitat destruction
equivalent to the taking of a species. The planned regulations
also would eliminate uncertainty concerning threatened and
endangered species protection in smart growth areas, and
minimize impacts to traditional farming and forestry practices.
Also Tuesday, Campbell was joined by the
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey in unveiling
the New Jersey Endangered Wildlife Traveling Exhibit, an
interactive display that showcases the history and achievements
of endangered species protection in the state.
Using an interactive collage of video,
audio and graphics, visitors can view the beautiful and
diverse landscapes of New Jersey, while learning about the
critical work necessary to ensure the future of our state's
"There are more than 70 endangered
and threatened species in New Jersey that need our help
to protect them from extinction," Campbell said. "This
interactive exhibit will help foster public awareness of
the plight of these species and help showcase the critical
work that has been and continues to be done to keep New
Jersey's wildlife in our future."
Signed into law on Dec. 14, 1973, the New
Jersey Endangered Species Conservation Act preceded the
federal Endangered Species Act by two weeks. The state law
directed the DEP to protect, manage and restore the state's
endangered and nongame wildlife species. Over the past 30
years, state biologists have made New Jersey a leader in
bringing key species back from the brink of extinction -
species such as the bald eagle, peregrine falcon and osprey.
The New Jersey Endangered Wildlife Traveling
Exhibit will be stationed at Liberty State Park until Aug.
1 and will travel throughout the state before settling into
its permanent home at the Division's Pequest Trout Hatchery
and Natural Resource Education Center in Oxford, Warren
County in April of 2004.
Stops along the way include the Wetlands
Institute in Stone Harbor (Aug. 8 - Sept. 10); Tuckerton
Seaport in Tuckerton (Sept. 12 - Oct. 27); Great Swamp Environmental
Education Center in Basking Ridge (Oct. 29 - Nov. 26); New
Jersey State Museum in Trenton (Jan. 1 - Feb. 25); and Newark
Liberty International Airport in Newark (March 1 - March
Funding for the exhibit was provided by
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Conservation
Restoration Program, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of
NJ, and PSE&G.