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Posted Monday, April 8th, 2019

Locations in Harding Township Targeted

Controlled Burn Planned at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service will conduct a series of controlled burns later in April or early May (weather dependent) on two wetlands at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Harding Township

Actual dates are dependent on weather conditions, favorable winds for smoke to rise and disperse, and the availability of trained wildland firefighters.

The use of prescribed fire to restore habitat is part of the refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan, which was finalized in 2014.

Controlled Burn Planned at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Controlled Burn Planned at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

(Photo/Ken Badger)

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1960, in part, to provide habitat for migrating ducks and geese and other waterfowl, and for conservation of wetlands. Five artificial wetlands, also called impoundments, were constructed in the early 1970s and 1980s to provide migrating, nesting, brood-rearing, and feeding habitat for waterfowl.

Over the past decade, woody vegetation has invaded three impoundments and standing dead vegetation has formed thick mats, reducing the amount of open water available for waterfowl.

The Fish and Wildlife Service regularly conducts prescribed burns on refuge lands to maintain and restore habitat for wildlife. In total, the Service expects to burn 148 acres this season.

Local emergency personnel, including the local police and fire departments, will be notified prior to each prescribed burn.

On days of prescribed burns, the refuge, Visitor Center, and Wildlife Observation Center will remain open to the public.  However, Pleasant Plains Road and associated parking areas will be closed from just south of the Visitor Center parking lot to the South Gate of the refuge. For additional information, please visit or call 973-417-9542.