Earlier this week staff from the NJSEA Meadowlands Research and Restoration Institute (MMRI) launched an artificial floating island into the Kearny Freshwater Marsh as part of a new conservation project. The 16×16 foot temporary structures are constructed of wood, and then covered with sand to recreate the type of habitat that these birds use to breed.
The initiative, created by MRRI, seeks to encourage local endangered species such as Least Terns and Black Skimmers to nest on a sand-covered artificial floating island.
The Floating Islands include tern decoys constructed by volunteers to help attract Least Terns and other colonial nesting waterbirds. The critical nesting shelters, also built by volunteers, will provide fledgling Least Terns protection from predators. MRRI will also be installing a sound box to assist in attracting the terns, and remote cameras to capture live video, which will then be monitored by MRRI biologists and ecologists.
The NJSEA extends a huge thank you to the Maywood Boy Scouts and Fair Lawn High School wood shop students who constructed the nesting shelters and decoys, and to the Bergen County Audubon Society for coordinating the effort with the troop volunteers and students.