Ben Wurst, blog author places an osprey nestling back in the nest after being banded at Forsythe NWR. Photo by Johnathan Carlucci.

The New Jersey Osprey Project is a partnership between the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. 

Historically, before the effects of DDT caused the state’s osprey population to decline, over 500 osprey nests could be found along New Jersey’s coastline. By 1974 only 50 nests remained.  The effects of DDT in the food chain caused reproduction to fail, and habitat was lost with a burgeoning shore population that eliminated many trees and increased ground predator populations. In New Jersey, the osprey was listed as endangered in 1974 by the state.  Recovery began when DDT use was banned, and biologists coordinated efforts to supply man-made nest platforms for the birds.  These new artificial nest platforms replaced the snags and trees that were lost as the barrier islands became more developed. By 1986 the osprey population had surpassed 100 pairs, sparking the decision to upgrade their status to threatened in the state.  Since that time, the Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) staff has worked to monitor and manage the population, tracking their nest success every year with a core group of volunteers, and surveying the population every three years.  More recently, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ has been working with ENSP to help provide adequate nesting structures for ospreys.  In 2009 the NJ osprey population hit a new post-DDT record of just over 485 active nests, near the estimated historic population of 500 nests.