Rockport Marsh, located within the Wantage Grasslands of Sussex County, is a large, open, freshwater wetland with scrub-shrub, grassland and upland forest habitats. The site is fed by a branch of the Wallkill River and includes the privately-owned Rockport and Black Dirt Marshes.

Ornithological Summary

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

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

Conservation Concern ? State-endangered: Northern Harrier (B)

Conservation Concern ? State-special Concern: Least Flycatcher (B)

Conservation Issues

Although the site is largely surrounded by farms preserved through New Jersey?s Farmland Preservation Program, agricultural runoff and a growing number of residential subdivisions are threatening its freshwater wetlands. Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation due to development are major concerns. Nearby development has also increased nonpoint source pollution, particularly stormwater discharge, entering the wetlands. The water quality of Rockport Marsh is further degraded by agricultural runoff from crop fields of the adjacent farming operations. Additional threats to Rockport Marsh include overabundant deer, invasive plant species, and loss of early successional habitats to forested communities. Unprotected parcels of Rockport Marsh and the surrounding habitats should be targeted for acquisition, or outreach to public and private landowners, to encourage habitat maintenance and restoration. Several federal and state incentive programs are available to landowners interested in managing and protecting wildlife habitat. Projects that protect wetland habitats include maintaining protective buffers to reduce agricultural runoff, removing invasive vegetation, maintaining connectivity between wetlands, installing livestock fencing and controlling livestock grazing. Active management, including prescribed mowing, haying, grazing and burning, as well as other techniques of maintaining early successional habitats, is also recommended.

Ownership

The site has a variety of owners.

Habitat

Primarily nontidal wetlands with upland forest, shrub-scrub and grassland

Land Use

The site is used for a variety of purposes.

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