Aquatic Habitat Connectivity and Culvert Assessments

In collaboration with the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Improving Wildlife Habitat Connectivity

Roads present a partially penetrable or complete barrier to movements for many species in a variety of habitats including aquatic habitats. Culverts, bridges, and other crossings can reconnect habitats if properly planned, implemented, and maintained. However, undersized or poorly designed crossings might not fulfill their purpose and continue to fragment habitats, contribute to erosion, and increase flooding hazards.

What is New Jersey Doing?

New Jersey is a member of the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative (NAACC), initiated by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The NAACC has developed assessment protocols, trainings, an online database, and maps for culvert mitigation prioritization. The goal of this project is to assess the condition of aquatic habitat connectivity in the State of New Jersey. Data collected will be used to make improvement of current culverts, enhance wildlife habitat connectivity, reduce flood hazards, and reduce wildlife collision.

What You Can Do!

With an ultimate goal to connect fragmented habitats and rebuild wildlife habitat connectivity in the State of New Jersey, we are recruiting volunteers to join this assessment effort. The goal is to develop a network of trained volunteers and organizations throughout the State. We will provide training and materials needed to conduct the assessments.
Training required for lead observers:

  • Online protocol training (3 hours)
  • In-person field training (4-6 hours)
  • Shadowing an experienced observer at 20 sites

For more information please contact
Natalie Sherwood
Coordinator, NJ Habitat Connectivity Assessment Project
Passaic River Institute