Forsythe Refuge's Brigantine and Barnegat Sections were originally two distinct refuges, established in 1939 and 1967 respectively, to protect tidal wetland and shallow bay habitat for migratory water birds. In 1984 they were combined under the Edwin B. Forsythe name, in honor of the late conservationist Congressman from New Jersey. The purposes of Forsythe Refuge are:
The Refuge's location in one of the Atlantic Flyway's most active flight paths makes it an important link in the vast network of national wildlife refuges administered nationwide by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Its value for the protection of water birds and their habitat continues to increase as people develop the New Jersey shore for our own use. Forsythe Refuge is a part of the Hudson River/New York Bight Ecosystem and The New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail. In 1986 it was designated a Wetland of International Importance under The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance--otherwise known as the Ramsar Convention.
A regional site of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network
WHSRN grows to 49 sites protecting critical shorebird habitat across the Americas.
The WHSRN Council gave final approval to the designation of three new regional sites to join the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) during its regular meeting in Washington, D.C. March 18, 2001. The addition of these sites brings an additional 451,000 acres (182,500 hectares) into the network that now includes over 20 million acres (8 million hectares) of shorebird habitat. The really good news is that 21 new partners from these sites expand our coalition for hemispheric conservation to a total of 187 partners!
Background: As secretariat for the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN), Manomet is guiding efforts to protect important wetland sites that these international migrants depend upon. There are now 46 sites in the Network, totaling over 20 million acres throughout North and South America. Many of the WHSRN sites face serious habitat degradation threats from incompatible uses, such as poorly planned commercial pig farming, urban development, or horseshoe crab harvesting.
More sites need to be added to the Network. With only seven sites from South America, key areas where millions of shorebirds winter are not protected. In the next two years, Dr. Jim Corven and the WHSRN staff will put special attention into adding new sites from South America and Mexico. We also will be working to increase technical skills at all sites to improve habitat management, monitor threatened populations, and reach out to local communities and foster international recognition and support of each site's importance.
With the Network approaching its 15th year in 2001, the Manomet staff has established an extensive web of collaborations to help sites and secure the Network at the local level. We offer training courses, on‑site technical assistance, international data gathering systems and expert networks to support community capabilities. The WHSRN Council, consisting of governmental, conservation, research, education and site representatives from many American countries, meets twice yearly to advise and assist on all WHSRN elements.