STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION
Senator LINDA R. GREENSTEIN
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Senators Bateman, Weinberg, Turner, Lesniak, Thompson and A.R.Bucco
Designates Pine Barrens treefrog as New Jersey State Amphibian.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel
An Act designating the Pine Barrens treefrog as the New Jersey State Amphibian, and supplementing chapter 9A of Title 52 of the Revised Statutes.
Whereas, The Pine Barrens treefrog was first documented in New Jersey and was named for its habitat in the Pinelands, a unique 1.1 million acre ecosystem in southern New Jersey that supports a diverse range of plant and animal species, many of which are dependent on the special ecological conditions present in the Pinelands for their survival; and
Whereas, The Pine Barrens treefrog is found only in three locations worldwide: the New Jersey Pinelands, the panhandle area of Florida and Alabama, and the sandhills of North and South Carolina; and
Whereas, The vibrant green coloring of the Pine Barrens treefrog, marked by a bold purple stripe with a white border down each side of the body, make it one of the most beautiful amphibians in New Jersey and the nation; and
Whereas, The Pine Barrens treefrog is commonly recognized as a symbol of New Jersey wildlife and of the New Jersey Pinelands, gracing the pages of many publications, as well as appearing on the Motor Vehicle Commission’s State Pinelands license plate and in renowned artist Andy Warhol’s 1983 screen print series of endangered species; and
Whereas, In order to thrive, the Pine Barrens treefrog requires specialized sandy, acidic habitats with dense ground cover and shallow ponds, such as Atlantic white cedar swamps and pitch pine lowlands, that are rare elsewhere but common in the Pinelands region of southern New Jersey; and
Whereas, In 1979, the Pine Barrens treefrog was listed by the State of New Jersey as an endangered species due to its declining population, habitat loss, and the pollution of its breeding ponds; and
Whereas, In 2003, the status of the Pine Barrens treefrog was upgraded from an endangered species to a threatened species based on improved population numbers and a determination that its habitat in the State is well protected by the New Jersey Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan, and for this reason, the Pine Barrens treefrog is considered a success story in New Jersey wildlife preservation; and
Whereas, Because of vast expanses of protected habitat within the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, the State serves as the largest stronghold for the Pine Barrens treefrog throughout its entire range; and
Whereas, Increasing the public profile of the Pine Barrens treefrog will encourage efforts to ensure conservation of the species, its habitat, and other valuable natural resources in New Jersey; and
Whereas, Due to the uniqueness and importance of the Pine Barrens treefrog and its Pinelands habitat, it is appropriate and fitting that the Pine Barrens treefrog be granted special recognition; now, therefore,
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Pine Barrens treefrog (Hyla andersonii) is designated as the New Jersey State Amphibian.
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill designates the Pine Barrens treefrog (Hyla andersonii) as the New Jersey State Amphibian. The bill is inspired by the efforts of two students, Andrew Zhong and Brian Zhong, in Ms. Barbara Osburn’s fifth grade class at Millstone River Elementary School, Plainsboro, New Jersey. In response to their efforts, the New Jersey Pinelands Commission has endorsed the designation of the Pine Barrens treefrog as the State Amphibian. The designation also has garnered support from New Jersey wildlife specialists and organizations, including the New Jersey Audubon Society and Herpetological Associates, Inc.
The Pine Barrens treefrog is named for its habitat in the Pine Barrens region of southern New Jersey, also known as the Pinelands. The New Jersey Pinelands is one of only three locations worldwide where the Pine Barrens treefrog is found, and the Pinelands serves as the largest stronghold for the species due to its vast expanses of protected habitat. The Pine Barrens treefrog, once endangered and currently listed by the State as a threatened species, has been long recognized as a beautiful symbol of New Jersey wildlife. Affording it special recognition as the State Amphibian will help encourage conservation of the species, its habitat, and other valuable natural resources in the State.