Gerry Moore, Ph.D. has conducted a number of botanical surveys of the Maurice River Watershed for Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc. His reports document rare and endangered species and their habitats that occur in the watershed, often identifying existing threats to these species and making recommendations on how these species could be better protected. Other botanists have conducted surveys for Citizens United. Sometimes these have been funded in conjunction with other organizations like the New Jersey Conservation Foundation; most have been conducted by botanists under the umbrella of the environmental consulting firm, Herpetological Associates.
The Maurice River is floristically unique. In this watershed, along the freshwater tidal marshes of the Manumuskin River, the world’s largest population of the federally-threatened sensitive-joint vetch (Aeschynomene virginica) can be found. The Maurice River watershed also contains populations of the federally-threatened swamp pink (Helonias bullata). Other globally-rare plant species that have been documented in the watershed include: Barratt’s sedge (Carex barrattii), Barton’s St. Johnswort (Hypericum adpressum), bur marigold (Bidens Bidentoides var. bidentoides), chaffseed (Schwalbea americana), curly-grass fern (Schizaea pusilla), New Jersey rush (Juncus caesariensis), Parker’s pipewort (Eriocaulon parkeri), pine barrens gentian (Gentiana autumnalis), pine barrens smoke grass (Muhlenbergia torreyana), pineland tick trefoil (Desmodium strictum), pink tickseed (Coreopsis rosea), and resinous boneset (Eupatorium resinosum). The watershed also supports populations of numerous plant species that are of state concern. And lastly, many wonderful more common plants are abundant including arrow arrum, pickerel weed, cardinal-flower, wild rice, various mallows and other typical wetland species.
The results of the surveys are provided to appropriate state and federal agencies, and conservation organizations. Because of the sensitive nature of these plants we do not make their exact locations available to the public at large. Many of these plants are in habitats that support unusually high concentrations of rare species. Such habitats include Atlantic white cedar swamp, coastal plain, intermittent pond and freshwater tidal marsh.
Significant botanical surveys have been performed on the tidal Maurice River by the Natural Lands Trust, (www.natlands.org), the most comprehensive of which is the “Lower Maurice River Resource Identification Project.”