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South Branch WMA (Merck Tract) Habitat Management Project


The Division of Fish and Wildlife is conducting habitat management activities at the Merck Tract of the South Branch Wildlife Management Area. The goals of the project are to remove invasive species and improve habitat for early successional wildlife and grassland bird species. A contractor will be using a forestry mower to remove invasive species such as autumn olive and callery pear, as well as thin vegetation to create more open scrub-shrub habitat.

Over the next few years, agricultural fields will be progressively taken out of crop production and planted with native warm season grasses and pollinator-friendly plants. Cool season grass fields will be harvested after July 15 to provide a mosaic of habitat types without harming nesting species. These improvements will benefit a range of wildlife species that need early successional habitat, such as American kestrel, bobolink, eastern meadowlark, grasshopper sparrow, and eastern cottontail rabbit.

For more information, please contact Melissa Woerner at

Habitat Restoration Projects

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: February 13, 2020