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New Jersey's State Wildlife Action Plan
Habitats for Wildlife of Conservation Need - Identifying Conservation Focal Areas


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)

Download Conservation Focal Areas GIS Data (DEP Bureau of GIS)


Effective conservation of New Jersey's diverse wildlife requires planning at different scales. At the finer scale, identifying Focal Species of Greatest Conservation Need (Focal SGCN) provides a discrete set of wildlife that are both in need of immediate protection and perceived to be responsive to known and feasible conservation actions. Implementing targeted efforts towards their conservation will benefit many other species. But species-specific conservation is not sufficient, especially given the long-term shifts that are occurring now, and will continue to occur on New Jersey's landscape.

Species Habitat Mapping

New Jersey's Landscape Project (see Attachment II) (pdf, 32mb) mapping is the principal means by which the DFW documents and maps the locations of habitats (see Chapter 2, Section I) (pdf, 32mb) that support state-listed (Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern) wildlife species. The revised State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) recognizes that, for individual species, this approach to identifying habitats that support imperiled wildlife remains vital. Current Landscape Project mapping documents habitat areas for more than half (61 of 107) of the Focal SGCN identified in this plan. Focal species profiles (see Appendix D) (pdf, 32mb) are included in the Plan to highlight the broad habitat associations and New Jersey ranges of the Focal SGCN, and habitat associations for all SGCN are also provided in Appendix C (pdf, 32mb).

Conservation Focal Areas

Identification of Conservation Focal Areas (see Chapter 2, Section II) (pdf, 32mb) using an approach that differs from that used to identify habitats for individual species provides for conservation planning for SGCNs at broader scale and is the second main component of New Jersey's 2017 State Wildlife Action Plan revision. Focal Areas identify specific geographic areas (see Chapter 2 Section III) (pdf, 32mb) of New Jersey's landscapes that present the best opportunities for effective conservation action that will benefit all wildlife, including the full suite of SGCNs.

Just as identifying a subset SGCNs as Focal Species serves to focus planning efforts on the most "actionable" species, delineation of Conservation Focal Areas aims to hone the focus of our planning by identifying specific geographic areas that provide the best conservation opportunities. By assessing the threats to these species and areas and then developing implementable conservation actions to address them, we create a blueprint for conservation of NJ's wildlife.

Conservation Focal Areas Poster
Click for detailed PDF (pdf, 4.2mb)


  • Provide a data-driven approach for geographically focusing conservation action (see Appendix E) (pdf, 32mb) within New Jersey's Landscape Regions based on metrics (see Appendix E, Table 4) (pdf, 32mb) of landscape ecological condition, existing conservation infrastructure, existing fish & wildlife habitats, biodiversity, and the lack of negative human influences.
  • Incorporate a regional conservation context that addresses ecosystems of importance to the Northeast Region that are found in New Jersey.
  • Emphasize riparian corridors that serve to connect larger tracts of habitat in an otherwise fragmented landscape.

Conservation Focal Area Map Conservation Focal Area Map (Has links to detailed description of delineated Focal Areas and the habitat composition of each.)

Looking Forward

The identification of areas of the landscape that provide the best opportunity for effective conservation action is a crucial initial phase of planning. Future planning (see Chapter 3, Section V ) (pdf, 32mb) will supplement the threat assessment that was performed on behalf of focal species by identifying the threats unique to the identified Conservation Focal Areas and by developing conservation actions that will guide the conservation community and other decision-makers in taking action to improve the conditions of New Jersey's highest priority fish and wildlife resources and habitats.

The formal comment period for the revised NJ State Wildlife Action Plan has closed. We intend, however, to ensure that the Plan is a living document, and we welcome your continued input. The Plan will remain on our website with the ability to accept comments, which will be considered as we continue the process of assessing threats and developing and prioritizing appropriate conservation actions, for Conservation Focal Areas, focal species and their habitats.

Please use the form below to submit comment on Identifying Conservation Focal Areas only; there are separate comment forms for each aspect of the Plan.
Be sure to complete fields that are designated as "* = required".

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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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Last Updated: August 21, 2018