DEP efforts to save state’s last wild population of endangered grassland herb showing signs of promise

The Department of Environmental Protection has high hopes for steps taken this year to improve the survival chances for New Jersey’s last remaining wild population of American chaffseed, a flowering perennial herb with highly specialized habitat needs. The species’ last stronghold is in a state forest in the Pinelands of Burlington County.

To restore the habitat at the Burlington County location, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service in late winter conducted a prescribed burn, then the New Jersey Forest Service thinned the surrounding trees to increase sunlight. Volunteers from the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Pinelands Preservation Alliance also manually cut back competing shrubs. Duke Farms in Hillsborough also contributed by propagating at its site plants from seed collected at the wild population. The New Jersey State Forest Nursery in Jackson has been working to propagate plants to aid in re-establishing this rare species.

The project is being overseen by the DEP’s Office of Natural Lands Management. The Burlington County site has more than 80 American chaffseed plants.

To read the complete DEP News Release click here