Natco Lake Park Report

Scientists Present Survey of Natco Park
Feb. 7, 2022

Over the course of three seasons in 2021, GZA Environmental scientists surveyed and evaluated the Hazlet portion of the Natco Lake Park. 

On Monday, Feb. 7, the observers presented their findings to the public at the monthly meeting of the Hazlet Environmental Commission. 

GZA was commissioned by Hazlet Township to complete a baseline biodiversity assessment of the entire park. The specialists documented species across a wide swath of taxa groups, including mammals, avian (birds), insects, invertebrates, Lepidoptera (moths & butterflies), herptiles (reptiles & amphibians), and flora. 

To document life, the scientists used various scientific methods, such as live animal trap and release, acoustic monitoring, animal track tubes, the IBird Pro app with Bluetooth speaker for bird calling, professional-grade binoculars, professional photography for species identification, insect malaise traps, insect soap dish traps, species-specific pheromones, and direct observations. 

GZA also performed three overnight Terrestrial Rapid Bio Assessments focusing on Nocturnal Lepidoptera (moths), a method which uses moths as a proxy to determine the ecological value of a specific habitat. 

Additionally, the park was surveyed for sensitive habitats, features of interest, and wetland boundaries, as well as partitioned into specific sub-habitats. 

An interesting side survey, not for the faint-hearted, was an assessment of  tick densities on trails throughout spring, summer and fall 2021. 

The study will help Hazlet explore potential solutions to combat/minimize the tick prevalence in the park, so that park users may more safely access and  enjoy the trails.