Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary to Close Temporarily for Wetland Restoration Project

The Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary will be closed to the public on, or about, September 20, 2021 for 5 days while wetland restoration experts contracted by the Borough begin work managing invasive vegetation in the wetlands and transition areas of the sanctuary. Vegetation management will involve the application of the herbicide Habitat®. This application will enable the restoration of native vegetation and wildlife habitat that have been crowded out by non-native, invasive plants, namely common reed (Phragmites australis) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). It is anticipated that there may be some hand cutting and removal following treatment.

Habitat® herbicide contains the active ingredient imazapyr and is considered to be a low-volume herbicide (effective at very low rates), which results in a lesser chemical load on the environment. Additionally, it is free of heavy metals, organochlorides and phosphates. With the exception of green plants, Habitat® herbicide is considered to be practically nontoxic as determined by results from EPA-required testing. Results from this testing indicate that it is not a mutagen, carcinogen, terratogen or endocrine disruptor. Furthermore when used as labeled, it should not have a direct adverse effect on mammals, birds, fish, crustaceans, mollusks or insects.

The herbicide will be applied utilizing a specialized marsh vehicle (Marshmaster), hose or backpack sprayer, depending on the area being treated. Herbaceous and woody species native to New Jersey may be planted within the Sanctuary following a multi-year treatment plan.

This project requires the closure of the Bird Sanctuary during the herbicide application. Signage will be posted at each of the four trail heads into the sanctuary during the closure period.

The Borough of Stone Harbor has contracted Princeton Hydro, LLC for the management of the wetland restoration project. For additional information please contact Tyler, Aquatic Operations Manager, Princeton Hydro, LLC, 908-237-5660.

Habitat Restoration Project

Spring Is In The Air

As the days lengthen and the winds get a bit warmer, it’s time to be thinking once again about our migratory and summer resident birds that are making their way back into our area in the coming weeks. Many have already returned and the Sanctuary is alive with life. It’s a wonderful time to visit the Sanctuary and reconnect to nature.

The trails are open for your enjoyment. Please be respectful of wildlife and the sanctuary by remaining on the trails and keeping your pets outside of the Sanctuary so that it can be a Sanctuary for the wildlife that make it their home.

Exploring the Sanctuary

Heron Overlook Path

Located off 3rd Avenue and surrounded by beautiful gardens donated by Friends of the Sanctuary, Heron Overlook will allow you to view the saltwater wetlands which are a popular heron and egret feeding area.  In the spring and fall, you might see and hear Neotropical songbirds as well as other larger migratory visitors. Take a moment, sit on a bench, enjoy the views and listen to the birds. In the fall, monarch butterflies have been known to swarm the flower gardens on their way south.  The Heron Overlook Path was made possible through the generous support of Julian and Betsy Miraglia as well as Phil Barber and Tony Millcarsky. Please stop at the Pump House, open the brown stand and tell us who you are, where you are from and any birds you have seen!

Meadow Walk Path

The Meadow Walk Path is surprisingly unique because it straddles fresh water meadows on your left and salt water marsh on your right.  In the spring and summer, you might see Great Egret and Great Blue Herons stalking minnows and fiddler crabs in the tributaries.  In the fall, various types of ducks can be seen swimming in the fresh water marsh to the left. The Meadow Walk path ends with a view of Paul’s Pond, a fresh water spring-fed pond where you might see Glossy Ibis, Black-crowned Night Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Green Heron and Osprey roosting in the trees in front of you. The Meadow Walk was created by the Cape May County Department of Mosquito Control with help from the Friends of the Sanctuary.

Egret Espy Path

The entrance to the Egret Espy Path is located off 2nd Avenue and 114th Street.  You are greeted at the beginning of the path by a stand of whispering pine trees planted by local Boy Scouts after the 1962 storm.  Take a moment and sit on one of the teak benches, breathe in the soft pine scent and enjoy the beautiful gardens donated by Friends of the Sanctuary.  As you walk along the path, you will cross a footbridge dedicated in honor of long-time resident, George Walters.  Once across the bridge, you enter Maritime forest that is hundreds of years old.  To your right and left you will see intricate, artistic remnants of old white spruce.  Watch out, you might step on an Eastern Box Turtle! At the end of the path, sit on one of the benches, listen but keep your eyes open because you are likely to see migrating songbirds, Green Herons, colonial wading birds, and large, colorful dragon flies.  The path is alive with activity.

Holly Path

zzGreatEgret7DThe Holly Path meanders across ancient sand dunes and an rare Maritime Forest. Stands of sassafras, black cherry, American holly, and Eastern red cedar abound. A trail spur, meanders past a 300 year old holly tree perched on a 15’ dune. A ghost Atlantic white cedar and large hackberry, with its distinctive knobby bark, are some of the unusual discoveries found along Holly Path. In recent years, several wind storms have toppled trees in the forest where time will gradually reclaim them back into the forest floor.

The Maritime Forest here borders the freshwater marsh and Paul’s Pond. Black-crowned Night Herons frequent the trees around Holly Path and in an effort to minimize disturbance, Holly Path has been closed to visitors during the summer. Holly Path is now open year-round, but we ask that if you are using the Holly Path between March through October that you enjoy nature quietly and remain on the trail.

Sanctuary Tours for 2021

Please note, no tours scheduled on Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend.

(July 3 through August 28) 10am
July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
August 7, 14, 21, 28 cancelled

(June 6 through August 29) 10am
June 6, 13, 20, 27
July 4, 11, 18, 25
August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 cancelled

Virtual Tours




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