One of the most highly visited destinations on the 950-acre Watershed Reserve is getting an ecological face-lift. The Watershed Institute’s Stewardship Team consisting of Stewardship Coordinator, Allison Jackson; Ted Stiles Environmental Stewardship Intern, Maeve Kessler; and Princeton Environmental Institute Intern, Josh Drossman have lead the charge in the rejuvenation in the habitats around Wargo Pond.
Residing in the floodplain of the Honey Brook, the habitat surrounding the pond consists of marshy meadows and patches of deciduous forest. This once thriving ecosystem has been greatly impacted by an overabundant population of white-tailed deer and an increase of invasive non-native plant species. The combination of these factors has resulted in a decrease in the diversity of native flora.
The Stewardship Team worked hard cutting and removing large invasive shrubs along the southwestern edge of pond, close to Pond House. These actions have greatly expanded areas often used for educational programming, reduced safety concerns with the removal of thorny plants, and increased the aesthetics of the picnic grove adjacent to the Pond House.
This project would not have been possible without monetary assistance from the Roots for Rivers Reforestation Grant and Technical Assistance Program*. Grant money was allocated to purchase 306 native trees, shrubs and protective tubing.
*The Roots for Rivers Reforestation Grant and Technical Assistance Program is a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Sustainable Jersey, and The Watershed Institute providing grants to support efforts to undertake floodplain reforestation initiatives.