Best Management Practices (BMPs) for open habitats such as farms and fields can have far reaching benefits for water and soil health as well as provide habitat for a variety of wildlife including American kestrels, grassland birds, pollinators, and small mammals. Many species rely on grasslands and meadows yet these open habitats are becoming rare on the landscape.
- Maintain forest edges and trees in open areas as they provide important perching areas for birds such as kestrels
- Install next boxes for bluebirds, American kestrels and other cavity nesting birds. Join the Raritan Headwaters Kestrel Partnership.
- Maintain cavity trees and “snags” as these natural nest sites are important for a variety of cavity-nesters
- Restore grasslands and meadows on idle land to promote biodiversity as well as soil and water health
- Minimize herbicide, insecticide and fertilizer use
- Maintain good conservation practices for soil and water health – visit North Jersey RC&D for cover crop and no till practices
- Protect buffers around wetlands and streams
- Remove invasive plant species including autumn olive, Japanese knotweed, Asian zebra grass (Micanthus), and vines such as Asiatic bittersweet and wisteria, see the New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team
- Promote native plant species diversity and do not plant invasive, exotic species, read more here
- Delay mowing until after July 15th to protect ground-nesting birds; allow some areas to remain un-mowed each year for winter food and cover habitat
Funding and Technical Assistance for creating habitat and/or implementing BMPs on working lands are available from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The New Jersey office may be accessed here. In addition, North Jersey RC&D offers expertise on implementing BMPs on agricultural land in the state.