Wildlife Management

What Endangered and Threatened Species Were Found?

Two endangered and two threatened species on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's list were found on or in the area of the Cape May County Campus site. Endangered are the eastern tiger salamander and the southern gray treefrog. Threatened species are the barred owl and the redheaded woodpecker.

Endangered species are ones that face immediate extinction from natural or human threats like predators or population expansion. Threatened species, on the other hand, are not in imminent danger of extinction but face that risk if their environments worsen. Species are often designated as endangered or threatened by a state's environmental agency despite living in abundance elsewhere in the US.

The Endangered Eastern Tiger Salamander

Eastern Tiger Salamander

The eastern tiger salamander is a stocky little amphibian, 7 or 8 inches long (although one was once measured at 13 inches) with sturdy limbs and a long tail. Its skin is mostly dark brown with irregular yellowish blotches. Its habitat stretches from southern New York State south along the East Coast into Florida, westward into the Gulf States and eastern Texas, and in the Midwest from Ohio to Minnesota. It thrives near breeding ponds and pools and can live as long as 15 years. It is designated endangered in New Jersey because of human encroachment into its habitat. It is not on the U.S. list of endangered species.

The Endangered Southern Gray Treefrog

Southern Gray Treefrog

The southern gray treefrog is common in wooded, shrubby places where there is water. It ranges from central Texas eastward through the Southeast, southward into mid-Florida and up the Atlantic Coast. The amphibian is about two inches long. Its skin is gray to green in color but its hind legs are bright orange or yellow. It moves at night, preferring the shade of a tree or shrub during the day. Its call is a harsh, rapid trill. Like the salamander, this animal is endangered in New Jersey by loss of habitat. It is not on the U.S. list of endangered species.

The Threatened Barred Owl

Barred Owl

This woodland bird is the most vocal of all owls. Its four-hoot call has been likened to who cooks for you? Barred owls stand 16-24 inches with a wingspan of 38-50 inches. They are gray-brown with big, black eyes peering from a dome-shaped head. It preys on rodents, birds, snakes, lizards, insects and amphibians. The barred owl is found in eastern and western Canada, throughout the eastern U.S. and in the Pacific Northwest south into Northern California, and in Central America. It is not on the U.S. list of threatened species.

The Threatened Redheaded Woodpecker

Redheaded Woodpecker

The only woodpecker with a completely red head, this bird is striking in its tri-colored plumage of red, white and black. About 8-10 inches long, it thrives in treed areas, orchards, farm country and groves. The redheaded woodpecker will eat seeds from backyard feeders, enjoys ripe fruit, but its preferred food is insects and their bark-deposited eggs and larvae. The bird ranges east of the Rockies from Canada to the Gulf States. It is not on the U.S. list of threatened species.

Atlantic Cape's Endangered Species Protection Plan

Working closely with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the college has developed an "Endangered Species Management Plan." It incorporates three main concepts to protect the viability of endangered and threatened species on the campus site:

  • Redesigning the college building, altering access drives and placing barriers to prevent the salamanders and tree frogs from wandering onto roads and parking areas
  • Integrating new breeding sites of standing water and small pools 2- to 4-feet deep into the campus stormwater management system
  • Reforesting some open areas to provide the cover that encourages the amphibians to migrate to new and existing breeding ponds on adjacent land

Protecting The Owl And Woodpecker

The deployment of nesting boxes, an effective and cost-efficient technique for maintaining bird populations, was undertaken on adjacent county land before both birds' nesting seasons. The boxes were constructed of unpreserved materials and were placed where barred owls and redheaded woodpeckers traditionally nest.