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DEP launches program to help conserve and enhance wildlife management areas

Nature enthusiasts can help protect habitats and the wildlife that depend on them through a new Department of Environmental Protection Wildlife Habitat Supporter program directing contributions to conservation and education efforts across New Jersey’s 122 wildlife management areas, DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced.

The new program will create the opportunity to donate to a dedicated conservation fund, which will directly benefit outdoor initiatives, including hiking, birding, boating and wildlife viewing that are available at New Jersey’s wildlife management areas, according to a press release.

“DEP land managers, biologists and conservationists manage more than 358,000 acres of natural lands for the benefit of wildlife and the public across DEP’s network of wildlife management areas, which provide habitat for numerous species, and endless opportunities for the public to enjoy the beauty of the environment we share,” LaTourette said.

Donation levels to the Wildlife Habitat Supporter program start at $10. Contributors who donate $25 or more will receive a first edition collectible decal, according to the press release.

Donations to the program will be dedicated for:

• Management and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat;

• Enforcement of fish and wildlife regulations;

• Restoration and protection of endangered and nongame species;

• Fish and wildlife educational programs and signs;

• Improved public access to recreational facilities on wildlife management areas.

“The Division of Fish and Wildlife manages more than 358,000 acres in 122 wildlife management areas throughout New Jersey,” Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Golden said.

“Maintaining these properties for the benefit of wildlife while providing compatible recreational opportunities has traditionally been supported and funded by New Jersey’s hunters and anglers.

“The Wildlife Habitat Supporter program will now allow everyone who enjoys the outdoors to have the opportunity to help fund conservation in the Garden State,” Golden said.

“The conservation of our natural resources is critical to a healthy environment, a robust economy and protecting the quality of life in our cities, towns, forests and farms,” added New Jersey Audubon President and CEO Eric Stiles.

“As a partner on many projects with the DEP, NJ Audubon supports and encourages sound conservation practices. I urge everyone to become a wildlife habitat supporter and be a part of fish, wildlife and habitat conservation in New Jersey,” Stiles said.

For more information or to donate and become a wildlife habitat program supporter, visit www.njfishandwildlife.com/whsp.htm

To view a list of New Jersey’s wildlife management areas, visit www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/wmaland.htm

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