Behind Secaucus High School, near the Hackensack River, is one of nature’s niftiest laboratories.
Until a few years ago, the 42-acre tide-restricted marsh was wall-to-wall Phragmites, an invasive reed that overran the region in the 1900s. Although some birds and butterflies like these tall reeds, they are too dense to attract the diversity of species that native grasses bring.
All that changed when the N.J. Meadowlands Commission ripped out the Phragmites, opened the site to the tides, and planted native grasses and other plants.
Although the marsh has been attracting lots of great birds — from warblers to rails — an experience this summer underscored just how crucial a change in habitat can be.
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