Hyper Humus Marshes is located near Lafayette in Sussex County and is bordered by the Paulinskill Valley Trail on the north, the Sussex Branch Trail and Hicks Avenue on the east, the Town of Newton on the south and the uplands east of Route 206 on the west. The State of New Jersey?s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) acquired the site in 2005, now called the Paulinskill River Hyper-Humus Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Most of site is composed of freshwater forested and emergent wetlands fed by the Paulinskill River and numerous permanent springs. The site contains several cattail marshes and large ponds originally created in the 1900s by a peat and humus mining operation belonging to the Hyper Humus Company. Before the US Environmental Protection Agency halted the practice of peat mining more than a decade ago, the site was stripped of its trees and mined for the nutrient-rich, decaying plant matter and detritus for sale to the nursery trade. This site includes the Hyper Humus Fen Natural Heritage Priority Site, a limestone fen dominated by herbaceous and scrub-shrub vegetation. The limestone fen is a rare ecosystem with mineral-rich wetlands usually associated with limestone bedrock.

Ornithological Summary

Conservation Concern ? State-endangered: American Bittern (B)

Conservation Concern ? State-endangered: Pied-billed Grebe (B)

Conservation Concern ? State-endangered: Red-shouldered Hawk (B)

Significant Congregations of Waterfowl (W)

Significant Congregations-Exceptional Diversity: All Species (B,W)

Conservation Issues

The primary threats to this site are changes in hydrology and water quality, invasive plant species and overabundant deer. Nonpoint source pollution from adjacent residential lands can degrade water quality. Inputs from a sewage treatment facility located upstream from the site are also a concern. Nearby development should consider the proximity to this wetland and the potential for altering water both above and below ground. In addition, terrestrial buffers should be maintained to filter water flowing into the wetland and provide nesting and foraging habitat for wildlife. Privately-owned portions of adjacent to this site should also be prioritized for acquisition and habitat restoration. Invasive species, including Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), common reed (Phragmites australis) and autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) reduce habitat structure and outcompete native plant species. Overabundant deer have also reduced habitat structure by browsing heavily on native plants. The BLM and Army Corp of Engineers are currently developing a management plan for the Paulinskill River Hyper-Humus WMA in which several of the impoundments will be managed for waterfowl. The BLM is also conducting an inventory of the site to assist with plan development.

Ownership

Owned by:
Paulinskill/HyperHumus WMA
NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Bureau Of Land Management
P.O. Box 400
Trenton
NJ
08625-0400
(609) 984-0547

Habitat

Primarily nontidal wetlands with upland forest, open water and riparian habitat

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