The Amwell Valley (East Amwell) Grasslands is one of the best remaining examples of agricultural grasslands in the State. The site lies in the southern portion of Hunterdon County, along the northern border of the Sourland Mountains. The Grasslands occupy portions of four municipalities, but the majority of the grassland falls within East Amwell Township. The Neshanic River, a major tributary of the Raritan River, flows through the center of the site. The site is primarily in agriculture ranging from row crops and pasture to orchards and nurseries. The New Jersey Office of Natural Lands Management (NJONLM) designated the site as a Natural Heritage Priority Site due to its significance for grassland wildlife. The site is also designated as a high conservation priority by the NJ State Wildlife Action Plan and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection?s Landscape Project.

Ornithological Summary

Conservation Concern ? State-endangered: Upland Sandpiper (B)

Conservation Concern ? State-special Concern: American Kestral (B)

Conservation Concern- State-threatened: Bobolink (B)

Conservation Issues

Although East Amwell has maintained an aggressive farmland preservation program that has preserved over 4300 acres, the majority of this site continues to face intense development pressure. Development has already fragmented portions of habitat in the region. Additional threats include the succession of fields to shrub or tree-dominated habitats, noncompatible agricultural practices and invasive plant species. In a collaborative effort to protect and manage critical wildlife habitats in this region, several municipalities and statewide nonprofits founded the Raritan Piedmont Wildlife Habitat Partnership (RPWHP) which emphasizes the preservation of grassland habitat and wildlife in the region. The Amwell Grasslands is the largest of the agricultural complexes targeted by the RPWHP. Four priority strategies identified by the Grassland Conservation Plan to help accelerate the conservation of wildlife habitat in the Central Piedmont Plains include: the implementation of appropriate management on public land; the engagement of private landowners in conservation actions on priority lands through collaborative conservation agreements and participation in federal and state conservation incentive programs; and targeted acquisition of critical habitat parcels.

Ownership

The site is made up of multiple farms and some residential areas.

Habitat

Cultivated fields, shrub-scrub and grassland

Land Use

The primary use of the site is for agriculture. Residential areas are interspersed with farms.

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