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New Jersey's State Wildlife Action Plan
Monitoring the Results of Conservation Actions


DEP Seeks Public Comment on Major Update to State Wildlife Action Plan (DEP News Release, 12/11/17)
Comment by January 19, 2018

NOTE: To access specific portions of the plan, please use the bookmarked Table of Contents on Page vii in New Jersey's State Wildlife Action Plan (pdf, 32mb)


Monitoring is one of the "eight required elements" of a State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). Measuring the results of management practices on species and their habitats is essential to carrying out an adaptive management (see Chapter 4, Section II) (pdf, 32mb) approach to improve effectiveness and achieve goals on behalf of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN).

Monitoring the Results of Management Actions

This Plan identifies the focal species and geographic areas to help guide conservation in New Jersey, but more work is needed to prioritize projects and actions. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service developed Tracking and Reporting on Actions for Conservation of Species (see Appendix M) (pdf, 32mb) (TRACS) to help identify the metrics by which conservation actions and projects can be evaluated. DFW identified 62 monitoring programs (see Chapter 4, Table 6) (pdf, 32mb) that exist for wildlife and habitats, many of which are useful for monitoring management actions. Other metrics, especially the information called for in TRACS, will need to be more specific to species, habitat types, and locations to adequately reflect response to management.

DFW staff will consult with partners over the next few years to prioritize projects and actions and to identify monitoring programs to measure success. DFW will lead the process to identify metrics to judge the success of conservation actions and the steps for adapting management in response to those metrics. Creating and using results-chain graphics (see Chapter 4, Section I-B) (pdf, 32mb) for projects is helpful because they clearly identify targets, goals, and actions, as well as subsequent monitoring necessary to measure results. Adaptive management, the process by which actions are undertaken, assessed, and then modified as needed, follows a 6-step process (see Chapter 4, section II ) (pdf, 32mb). Adaptive management can be applied to ongoing management projects to continue or adjust actions as necessary.

Coordinating State and Regional Monitoring

While it is simple to state monitoring goals, it can be quite challenging to implement them. Monitoring can be extremely costly, and it can be difficult to connect conservation actions to observed population conditions because so many factors can be at play.

To help overcome these challenges, the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies in 2012 proposed a set of best management practices to help states establish monitoring programs to meet their goals and integrate information across regions. Central to these recommendations was adopting the TRACS (see Appendix M) (pdf, 32mb) system to allow information gathered on SGCN in New Jersey to be integrated with information gathered in other states. This will facilitate collaboration for management and monitoring progress toward goals to achieve the greatest conservation benefits.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife thanks all who reviewed the NJ State Wildlife Action Plan and submitted comments.

Back to New Jersey's State Wildlife Action Plan

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Department of Environmental Protection
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Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: January 22, 2018