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ON EARTH DAY, RAIL YARD GETS A NEW ROLE: BIRD SANCTUARY

Nesting sites are installed at Bay Head Yard

April 22, 2009
NJT-09-042

NEWARK
, NJ — NJ TRANSIT in partnership with the Borough of Bay Head and the New Jersey Audubon Society today celebrated Earth Day with the installation of new nesting sites for three bird species at the Bay Head Rail Yard.

 

The goal is to attract breeding pairs of Ospreys, Wood Ducks and Eastern Screech Owls to the rail yard, where nearby woods and bodies of fresh and brackish water provide ideal natural habitat.

 

“We proudly celebrate Earth Day at NJ TRANSIT because our core mission – to provide convenient alternatives to driving private vehicles – benefits the environment,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Chairman Stephen Dilts.  “Public transportation reduces roadway congestion, reduces fossil fuel consumption and improves the quality of the air we breathe.”

 

“Projects like this not only benefit wildlife, but foster open communication and a spirit of cooperation between NJ TRANSIT and the Borough of Bay Head, which is especially important for our residents who live near this active facility,” said Bay Head Mayor William W. Curtis.

 

“Earth Day is the perfect opportunity for all of us at NJ TRANSIT to tip our hats to our customers because they benefit the environment each time they choose NJ TRANSIT over a private automobile,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles.  “We welcomed the opportunity to work with Bay Head and the Audubon Society on this project because it presented a novel way for all of us to make a statement about the importance of protecting the environment on Earth Day and every day.”

 

“The New Jersey coastline provides important habitat for year-round residents such as  Eastern Screech Owls, and also plays a vital role for migratory birds, such as Ospreys that now can stop here and utilize these nesting platforms,” said Sandy Hook Bird Observatory Director Pete Bacinski.

 

Eleven nesting boxes and platforms have been installed on rail yard property to attract the birds, including seven boxes for Wood Ducks, two for Eastern Screech Owls and two platforms for Ospreys.   Wood Ducks are among a very few North American duck species which nest in trees.

 

The locations of the nesting sites were selected in consultation with officials from the New Jersey Audubon Society’s Sandy Hook Bird Observatory.  The duck and owl boxes have been installed in the woods inside the rail yard track loop, in an area that is off-limits to the public due to the train activity.  The Osprey platforms, on the other hand, have been positioned between the rail yard employee parking lot and Twilight Lake, easily visible from Twilight Road and Lake Avenue.

 

Volunteers in Bay Head built the nesting boxes and platforms, which were installed by NJ TRANSIT rail operations personnel.

 

Environment-friendly NJ TRANSIT

 

  • Nationwide, use of public transportation saves the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

 

  • NJ TRANSIT customers save 589,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere annually by taking transit instead of driving.

 

  • NJ TRANSIT bus fleet includes 76 buses powered by Compressed Natural Gas and seven with diesel-electric hybrid engines.  Additional 90 hybrid vehicles in non-revenue fleet.

 

  • NJ TRANSIT is in the process of replacing 1,145 buses (about half of the buses it operates) with new models that will utilize ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, reducing NOx emissions by 90 percent and particulate matter by 80 percent compared to the buses they will replace.

 

  • Testing the use of renewable bio-fuel blend for diesel locomotive fleet.

 

  • In process of acquiring dual-powered locomotives that will operate under electric power where available and diesel power elsewhere, reducing diesel fuel consumption.

 

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.