SOMERSET COUNTY, NEW JERSEY
Six Mile Run encompases a large tract of land (3,000 acres) located in Franklin Township, Somerset County. This site was acquired in the 1970's for the future development of a shallow water reservoir to serve Central New Jersey. The reservoir was never built and the property is now managed by NJDEP. Land use has historically been largely agriculture. Today agriculture remains the primary land use with small areas of undeveloped/unused early and late successional forest. The farming history has kept most of the land open and nonforested, assuring the maintenance of a healthy population of grassland birds.
The New Jersey Landscape Map gives the Six Mile Run area a 2 and 3 ranking (5 is highest rank) for suitable grassland habitat citing the presence of Bobolinks, Vesper Sparrows, American Kestrel and Grasshopper Sparrows. Bobolinks, Savannah Sparrow, and Vesper Sparrow have all been recorded on adjacent properties in recent years. The historic and current presence of target species and the potential size and contiguity of managed habitat offer the best opportunity for a large-scale grassland restoration in the State and enhancement of grassland bird populations.
Since 2005 NJAS has been working with Franklin Township, the State of New Jersey and private landowners to improve habitat for grassland birds. These improvements include the planting of native warm season grasses and delayed mow schedules to promote the nesting success of grassland birds.
Of particular note is the creation of large tracts of contiguous grassland habitat based on Franklin Township's Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve, private landowners and land owned by NJDEP. With the established grasslands of Negri-Nepote and private land, NJAS began working with NJDEP in 2006 targeting several tracts of early to midsuccessional habitat.
This tract began as a various staged, transitional habitat (young and mature eastern red cedar trees). In April 2007 NJ Parks and Forestry cleared 68 acres. Follow-up land clearing was completed in March 2008, treated with herbicide. In May 2008 this site was seeded with native grasses. This was made possible by a grant from NJCWRP. This site is scheduled for it's first mow in 2010.
Six Mile Run Grasslands