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.

  1. Maintain forest edges and trees in open areas as they provide important perching areas for birds such as kestrels
  2. Install next boxes for bluebirds, American kestrels and other cavity nesting birds. Join the Raritan Headwaters Kestrel Partnership.
  3. Maintain cavity trees and “snags” as these natural nest sites are important for a variety of cavity-nesters
  4. Restore grasslands and meadows on idle land to promote biodiversity as well as soil and water health
  5. Minimize herbicide, insecticide and fertilizer use
  6. Maintain good conservation practices for soil and water health – visit North Jersey RC&D for cover crop and no till practices
  7. Protect buffers around wetlands and streams
  8. 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
  9. Promote native plant species diversity and do not plant invasive, exotic species, read more here
  10. 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


Additional Resources:

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.