Category: Outdoors

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Found in 1 Deer in Burlington County

Public Asked to Contact DEP, Report Deer With Possible Symptoms

August 21, 2021

BURLINGTON, NJ –The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in a deer recently sampled in Burlington County. The sample was also tested for Blue Tongue, another virus that can cause hemorrhagic disease in deer, and it was negative. Neither disease is a threat to public health.

EHD and Bluetongue are contracted from the bite of insects called midges (Culicoides sp.). They cannot be transmitted to people, and humans are not at risk by handling infected deer, being bitten by infected midges or eating infected deer meat.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife always advises against consuming meat from any game animal that appears ill.

EHD outbreaks typically begin in late summer. Symptoms in deer may include difficulty standing, drooling, and emitting foam from the mouth or nose. Since the disease causes a fever, sick or dead deer are often seen in or near water. Disease transmission ends when the first hard frost kills midges.

The clinical signs of disease caused by the EHD and Bluetongue viruses are identical and can only be differentiated by testing and virus isolation.

There have been multiple outbreaks of EHD in New Jersey deer since 1955. Bluetongue virus was isolated from one deer that died in Basking Ridge, Somerset County and another that died in Stirling, Morris County in 2014.

The public is strongly encouraged to report deer with any of the symptoms described above to the Division of Fish and Wildlife at one of the following contacts:

Office of Fish and Wildlife Health and Forensic
Dr. Nicole Lewis, Wildlife Veterinarian, (908) 735-6398 or

Bureau of Wildlife Management
Jodi Powers, (609) 223-6073 or

Bluetongue and EHD are reportable diseases to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health, but only Bluetongue is a significant concern in livestock.

Livestock issues should be directed to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health at (609) 671-6400.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory can assist in diagnosing suspected Bluetongue cases in livestock by offering testing and necropsy services. Call the lab at (609) 406-6999 or email

More information about the tests offered can be found at

For information about white-tailed deer in New Jersey, visit

Coast Guard sets Port Condition X-ray for New York and New Jersey Ahead Of Tropical Storm Henri

August 20, 2021

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) has set Port Condition X-ray for the Ports of New York and New Jersey, due to the expectation of gale force winds from Tropical Storm Henri expected to arrive within 48 hours.

These ports currently remain open with no restrictions. Mariners are advised that the COTP will further manage tropical storm conditions in the ports through vessel traffic control measures. These measures will limit vessel movement in accordance with the Standard Severe Weather Practices outlined in the Captain of the Port New York Hurricane and Severe Weather Plan. These measures will be implemented by the Vessel Traffic Service based on observed and predicted wind conditions as the storm progresses.

At this time, the COTP is not requiring vessels and barges desiring to remain in port to complete a Remaining in Port Checklist. However, port users should monitor local weather broadcasts and implement their heavy weather procedures and take immediate action to safeguard personnel and property to minimize the damage caused by high winds, unusually high tides and heavy rain. 

Please refer to Coast Guard Advisory Notice (CGAN 2021-11) for details.

The Coast Guard is advising the public of these important safety messages:

Stay off the water. The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities degrade as storm conditions strengthen. This means help could be delayed. Boaters should heed weather watches, warnings, and small craft advisories.

Secure belongings. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or to sustaining damage. Trailer-able boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to remove EPIRBs and to secure life rings, lifejackets, and small boats. These items, if not properly secured, can break free and require valuable search and rescue resources be diverted to ensure people are not in distress.

Stay clear of beaches. Wave heights and currents typically increase before a storm makes landfall. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by tropical storms or hurricanes. Swimmers should stay clear of beaches until local lifeguards and law enforcement officials say the water is safe.

Be prepared. Area residents should be prepared by developing a family plan, creating a disaster supply kit, having a place to go, securing their home and having a plan for pets. Information can be found at the National Hurricane Center’s webpage.

Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio, and the Internet. Updated weather forecasts for the New York area can be found at the National Weather Service’s webpage. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF radio channel 16. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF radio channel 16.

Don’t rely on social media. People in distress should use 911 to request assistance whenever possible. Social media should not be used to report life-threatening distress due to limited resources to monitor the dozens of social media platforms during a hurricane or large-scale rescue event.

Vessels and facilities may contact the Vessel Traffic Service at or (718) 354-4088 with additional questions or concerns.

Be Alert For Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease In Deer

August 4, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Division of Fish and Wildlife is asking the public to be alert for deer that may be affected by Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) and to report any suspected cases. Symptoms include: difficulty standing, drooling, lethargy, respiratory distress, foam from the mouth or nose, and swelling of the face, tongue, and neck. Sick or dead deer are often seen in or near water. Reports can be made as follows:

Division Deer Biologist: 609-259-6965
Division Veterinarian: 908-735-6398 or

Illegal Clamming Bust In Allentown, NJ Conservation Officers Seize 64,000 Corbicula Freshwater Clams, Keep Contaminated Clams From Food Supply

July 26, 2021

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On July 18, Conservation Police Officers Nicole Carman and Michael Bickerton investigated a group of four out-of-state individuals who were collecting freshwater clams from Doctors Creek in Allentown, New Jersey. This creek is in the immediate vicinity of a sewage treatment plant. The waterway is deemed condemned by NJDEP due to pollution, rendering shellfish dangerous to public health if consumed. Officers apprehended the individuals in possession of approximately 64,000 corbicula clams, which are an invasive species. Thanks to a call from an observant passer-by, these clams were seized before they could find their way into the food supply chain. Please contact the 24-Hour DEP Hotline at 877-WARN-DEP if you observe individuals collecting freshwater clams or mussels.

Fishing Vessel Carters Creed Deployed At Manasquan Inlet Reef Site

May 27, 2021

MANASQUAN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–POINT PLESANT, NJ (OCEAN)–On May 19, 2021, Bureau of Marine Fisheries staff expanded the State’s artificial reef network with another deployment on Manasquan Inlet Reef, marking the sixth on that site since 2017.

The F/V CARTERS CREEK, formerly known as “Absecon”, is a 140′ decommissioned bunker boat. The vessel now rests in 75′ of water, with a vertical relief of 28′, at the following coordinates: 40* 05.010 x 073* 59.632. OR 40 05.010 -073 59.632

Sponsorship for this this project is provided by the Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association and The Sportfishing Fund.

Vessels and structures such as these, after being emptied of all machinery and fluids and thoroughly cleaned, are inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard and DEP before sinking. Due to the thickness and quality of steel used in their construction, staff expect the service life of this artificial reef to last over 75 years.

Artificial reefs are typically made up of concrete, steel, decommissioned ships and barges and provide habitat for a variety of marine life, fishing grounds for anglers and underwater structures for scuba divers to enjoy.

For more information, please visit the Artificial Reef Program page or contact NJ Reef Program Coordinator Peter Clarke at 609-748-2020.

Previous Deployments
Artificial Reef Locations

Visit NJ State Parks Free With NJ Parks Vax Pass, And Other Vaccination Incentives Announced

May 19, 2021

BERKLEY TOWNSHIP – ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK, NJ (OCEAN)–Governor Phil Murphy today announced several new vaccination incentives as part of “Operation Jersey Summer”, the statewide public awareness campaign aimed at vaccinating all eligible individuals who live, work, or study in New Jersey against COVID-19. The new incentives include a State Parks Vax Pass, providing free access to New Jersey’s 51 state parks and facilities including Island Beach State Park; a free glass of wine at participating New Jersey wineries; and dinner with Governor Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy.

“Millions of New Jerseyans have rolled up their sleeves and received a vaccination to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19, but there is still much work to be done in order to reach our goal of 4.7 million fully vaccinated New Jersey adults by June 30,” said Governor Murphy. “In partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Garden State Wine Growers Association, we are giving New Jerseyans more reasons to step up and visit one of our 1,700 vaccination sites to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. We are determined to reach our vaccination goals and make this the best Jersey summer yet.”

“With continually improving public health indicators, we want every New Jersey resident to get a State Parks Vax Pass and get out to enjoy our incredible State Parks with their families and friends,” said Shawn LaTourette, Acting Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. “From High Point in the northwest to Cape May Point in the southeast, our state parks provide a great place for New Jerseyans to connect with one another and with nature. A free State Parks Vax Pass is just one small way that we can thank our fellow residents for taking good care of themselves and each other by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.”

“New Jersey state parks are second to none and offer a great diversity of outdoors recreational experiences,” said New Jersey Parks and Forestry Director John Cecil. “We look forward to welcoming everyone this summer and truly hope many people take advantage of this opportunity to save money while doing the right thing to help end the pandemic.”

“The Garden State Wine Growers Association is proud to have nine of our member wineries join in raising awareness for the Covid-19 vaccination program by offering a free glass of wine to all those of age that show they’ve received their first vaccination dose this May,” said Tom Cosentino, Executive Director, Garden State Wine Growers Association. “We encourage all New Jersey residents to get vaccinated so they can come out this summer to our vineyards and enjoy the award-winning wines New Jersey vintners are producing.”

Vax and Visit with the State Parks Vax Pass

Beginning Thursday, May 27, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will offer a free State Parks Vax Pass under the new “Vax and Visit” campaign to all New Jersey residents who receive at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccination by July 4, 2021. The State Parks Vax Pass, which will be of the same value as the Annual State Parks Pass, will allow free access to all of New Jersey’s 51 State parks and forest facilities that charge daily walk-in or parking fees, from Thursday, May 27 through December 31, 2021. New Jersey residents who have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to request a State Parks Vax Pass upon entry at any one of the state’s 51 parks, including Island Beach State Park. The Department of Environmental Protection will also provide refunds to residents who already purchased Annual State Park Passes this year and have been fully vaccinated.

Vax and Visit with the State Parks Vax Pass

Beginning Thursday, May 27, 2021, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will offer a free State Parks Vax Pass under the new “Vax and Visit” campaign to all New Jersey residents who receive at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccination by July 4, 2021.

The State Parks Vax Pass, which will be of the same value as the Annual State Parks Pass, will allow free access to New Jersey’s 51 State parks and forest facilities that charge daily walk-in or parking fees, from Thursday, May 28 through December 31, 2021. New Jersey residents who have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to request a State Parks Vax Pass upon entry at any one of the state’s 51 parks, including Island Beach State Park. The Department of Environmental Protection will also provide refunds to residents who already purchased Annual State Park Passes this year and have been fully vaccinated.

Uncork the Vaccination

In partnership with the Garden State Wine Growers Association, New Jerseyans ages 21 and over who receive their first COVID-19 vaccination in the month of May can visit one of New Jersey’s participating wineries and receive a free glass of wine. Participating wineries include Amalthea Cellars, Auburn Road Vineyards, Bellview Winery, DiMatteo Vineyards, Salem Oak Vineyards, Terhune Orchards, Tomasello Winery, Villa Milagro Vineyards in Pohatcong, and White Horse Winery. 

Dinner with the Governor and First Lady

Beginning May 19, individuals age 18 or older who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination in New Jersey since the roll-out of the state’s program in December, can enter to win dinner along with a guest with Governor Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy. The winner will have the choice between dinner at Drumthwacket, the official Governor’s residence located in Princeton, or the Governor’s residence in Island Beach State Park. Entries must be submitted by May 31. To enter, visit

Stage 3 Fire Restrictions In Effect Tomorrow Morning For B & C NJ Forrest Fire Service Areas

May 18, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Forrest Fire Service will be implementing Stage 3 Fire Restrictions in the Division B & C Coverage Areas starting at 8:00 a.m. May 19, 2021. All open fires in wooded areas are prohibited unless in an elevated stove using only propane,, natural gas, gas or electricity. No charcoal fires area allowed in wooded areas. No agricultural burning at this time.

The area included is from the Raritan River South and Mercer County except for Hopewell Township. Cape May County is not included in the restrictions. See notes below from the New Jersey Forrest Fire Service for additional information.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service has implemented stage 3 fire restrictions for our Division B & C coverage areas beginning 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 19.

Stage 3 Fire Restrictions:
🚫🔥All fires in wooded areas will be prohibited unless contained in an elevated stove using only propane, natural gas, gas, or electricity.
🚫🔥No charcoal fires are allowed.
🚫🔥No agricultural burning.

Division B is – Burlington County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County (south of the Raritan River), Mercer County except Hopewell Township

Division C is – Atlantic County, Cape May County, Camden County, Cumberland County, Gloucester County, Salem County (NOTE: Cape May County is EXCLUDED from Stage 3 restrictions)

🔗 Current New Jersey Fire Danger:…/infot…/conditions-restrictions.html

Road Repair And Paving Scheduled For Assunpink WMA

May 6, 2021

UPPER FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–There will be road repair/paving activity at the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area Tuesday, May 11 through Wednesday, May 19, 2021. There will be no road closures but traffic may be reduced to one lane. The Conservation Center parking lot will be closed one day for paving during the work period.

Hunting Regulation Change – Deer Urine Lure Ban

April 30, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Effective May 10, 2021, a change in state hunting regulations will ban the possession, sale and use of all natural, deer-derived hunting lures (urine and glandular secretions) in New Jersey to help safeguard the health of the state’s deer herd from the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). All natural, deer-derived hunting lures must be disposed of in your household trash.

The ban has been put in place to strengthen safeguards against CWD entering New Jersey. These scents and lures are derived from captive deer where the risk of CWD is greatest. The production of deer urine is not regulated; there is no federal or state agency that can certify deer urine-based products as CWD-free, and no level of exposure is acceptable.

Synthetic lures and lures not made from any deer fluid or tissue are legal to possess, sell and use.

CWD is a progressive and always fatal neurologic disease affecting members of the Cervid family such as deer, elk, moose and reindeer, and is caused by an infectious protein called a prion. It results in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death, and is readily spread from deer to deer. While CWD has not yet been documented in New Jersey, it poses a real and significant risk to deer herds and New Jersey’s deer hunting tradition if it arrives here.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife is doing everything in its power to prevent CWD from entering New Jersey and to protect the long-term health of our deer herd and our deer hunting heritage.

More information about Chronic Wasting Disease can be found at

NJ Conservation Police Issue 67 Summonses For Undersized And Over Limit Striped Bass

April 16, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–As anglers take advantage of the ongoing striped bass run, New Jersey’s Conservation Police Officers have been busy enforcing the size and creel limits for this popular game fish. Calls to the 877-WARN-DEP line concerning violations have directed the officers’ attention to individuals whose illegal activities did not go unnoticed by law-abiding sportsmen and women. The officers have also been checking in on past trouble spots.

Between April 8 and April 11, Conservation Police Officer Robert Driscoll and Lieutenant Joseph Kuechler, with the assistance of Deputy Chief Frank Panico, continued their enforcement efforts of the striped bass regulations along the Hudson River and Newark Bay Complex in Hudson and Union Counties. They issued a total of 67 summonses for violations of undersize and over the limit striped bass with potential fines amounting to over $15,000.  

Meanwhile on the Raritan Bayshore, Conservation Police Officers Robert Henderson, Ed Klitz, Christopher Moscatiello and James Woerner patrolled the evening hours of April 9 and apprehended five individuals with multiple striped bass violations. In total, more than 20 sublegal striped bass were seized for undersized and overlimit violations.

On the evening of April 10 and into the early morning hours of April 11, seventeen Conservation Police Officers from across the state participated in an overt and covert operation focusing on the harvesting of illegal striped bass along the Raritan Bayshore in Middlesex and Monmouth counties. Nearly 100 inspections were made resulting in over thirty summonses issued for a variety of striped bass-related violations. The possession of undersized fish was the most common violation.  

The Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Bureau of Law Enforcement plans to continue targeted enforcement of striped bass fishing activity as long as the schools of “linesiders” continue to tempt unethical anglers.

Striped Bass regulations can be found in the Division’s free New Jersey Marine Digest available at many sporting goods stores and online here:

Anglers may catch and keep one striped bass per day. The striped bass must measure between 28 and 38 inches. Recreational anglers aged 16 or older must obtain a free annual Saltwater Angler Registry certificate if they are fishing in the marine or tidal waters of the state. Additional regulations apply. The fine for possession of undersized or overlimit striped bass is $100 per fish plus court costs. 


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Zebra Mussel Alert

March 8, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife is joining fish and wildlife agencies nationwide to alert consumers about aquarium products that may be infested with invasive Zebra Mussels. Zebra mussels are regarded as one of the most destructive invasive species in North America.

For more information about the consumer alert and disposal/cleaning methods visit the US Fish and Wildlife Site.

Zebra mussels can quickly take over once they get established in a waterbody and cause significant damage including disrupting the food chain, changing the chemistry of the water, clogging water intake and delivery systems and damaging boats.

Several major pet product retailers, including Petco and PetSmart, have proactively removed these products from their shelves.

The Division urges anyone who has purchased a moss ball within the past several weeks to strictly follow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) guidance on how to properly disinfect them and clean aquarium systems. 

Guidance can be found on the USFWS Zebra Mussel Disposal webpage.

Please spread the word and not the zebra mussel!

Vessel Deployments at Little Egg and Manasquan Inlet Reefs

January 21, 2021

MANASQUAN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On  Thursday, January 14, the Division’s Bureau of Marine Fisheries expanded the state’s artificial reef network through deployments on Little Egg and Manasquan Inlet Reefs. 

A 200-foot-long barge along with a 45-foot tugboat and 40-foot push boat were deployed at the Little Egg Reef site. These deployments were sponsored by the Beach Haven Charter Boat Association’s Junior Mate Program with donations by The Sportfishing Fund.

A 65-foot tugboat was sunk at the Manasquan Inlet Reef. The deployment was sponsored by the Manasquan River Marlin and Tuna Club with donations by The Sportfishing Fund.  This deployment was in memory of past Manasquan River Marlin and Tuna Club Lifetime Member John Geiges.

Striped Bass Anglers Required To Use Non-Offset Circle Hooks When Fishing With Natural Bait

January 4, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Striped bass anglers: Effective January 1, 2021, anglers are required to use non-offset (inline) circle hooks when fishing for striped bass with natural bait. A ‘circle hook’ is defined as a non-offset (inline) hook where the point is curved perpendicularly back towards the shank. The term ‘non-offset or inline’ means the point and barb are in the same plane as the shank. All states are required to implement the circle hook requirement by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. The new requirement is intended to reduce mortality in fish that are caught and released, known as release mortality. Release mortality contributes significantly to overall fishing mortality in the recreational striped bass fishery.

Illegal Clammers Busted In South Brunswick With 110 Pounds Of Thumbnail Clams

November 25, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Conservation Police Officer Recruit Bickerton, CPO Garofalo and Lt. Mascio responded to the Millstone River in South Brunswick for a report of illegal clamming. After performing surveillance, the officers performed a field inspection and issued three individuals a total of nine summonses for illegal clamming in prohibited waters. Approximately 11,000 Asian Thumbnail clams weighing 110 pounds were confiscated. All the clamming equipment was also seized as evidence.

Manasquan Inlet Reef Site Expanded With 6,000 Tons Of Concrete From Maher Terminals

November 24, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey’s artificial reef network has been significantly expanded through a deployment of 6,000 tons of concrete on the Manasquan Inlet reef site, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection announced.

Material for the first deployment on Oct. 28 consisted of 74 concrete forms, measuring 40 feet x 8 feet x 1.5 feet each, donated by Maher Terminals in Elizabeth, Union County. Another 77 forms were deployed Nov. 10. The forms, once used by U.S. Customs to scan shipping containers, were no longer needed and were slated to be recycled.

“This beneficial collaboration gives new life to these materials, keeping it out of landfills and providing habitat for a wide array of marine life, including species important to New Jersey’s world class commercial and recreational fishing sectors,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “We are proud to partner with Maher Terminals to enhance the marine ecosystem of our coastal waters.”

Artificial reefs are typically made up of concrete, steel, decommissioned ships and barges and provide a habitat for a variety of marine life. DEP studies have shown that these materials are colonized quickly with organisms such as algae, barnacles, mussels, sea stars, crabs, sponges and corals. 

The structure of the reef, and the feeding opportunities provided by the animals growing on the reef, attract species such as black sea bass, tautog and lobster, and provide excellent opportunities for recreational anglers and divers.

“Maher Terminals recognizes the significant interconnection between providing efficient port and terminal-related services and our responsibility to the environment and communities where we operate and call home,” said Gary Cross, CEO of Maher Terminals. “The deployment of this reef off the New Jersey coast is part of our broader commitment to strengthening the local marine ecosystem and to investing in a greener future. We’re excited to give these concrete platforms a second life as part of New Jersey’s Artificial Reef Program.”

Encompassing a total of 25 square miles of ocean floor, the New Jersey Artificial Reef Program began in 1984, and currently consists of four reefs in New Jersey waters and 13 in federal waters. The program is administered by the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Fisheries Administration. The program is sustained largely by donations of reef materials from private organizations and companies.

The Manasquan Inlet reef is approximately two miles east of the inlet and is one of the newest reefs in the artificial reef system. Center point coordinates are 40° 04.617’ N and 073° 59.040’ W. The reef footprint encompasses 0.84 square miles, but only two deployments had been made prior to today. The new material adds nearly 1.25 acres of artificial reef habitat on what was formerly featureless sand bottom.

This new feature inside the Manasquan Inlet reef site will be called the Maher Terminals Reef in recognition of the donation of material. Maher Terminals has also committed to revisiting the reef site annually for several years to document the progression of material from bare concrete to a reef ecosystem.

Earlier this year, New Jersey deployed  a 150-foot long caisson gate on the Deepwater reef site, a tugboat on the Sandy Hook reef site and a memorial reef on the Atlantic City reef.