Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Endangered Piping Plovers in Sea Girt

The Sea Girt Borough Council voted this month to amend a beach use ordinance to ban kite flying and dog walking on the borough beach to protect endangered piping plovers who use the beach area to nest.

The ban would be in effect from March 15 to September 30 which certainly covers the entire summer tourist season.

It is another example of the difficult line between protection and economics that we walk in New Jersey. The ban would also include play with hard balls and Frisbees during bathing hours, and allows members of the beach patrol to designate certain areas for play with soft balls.

Sea Girt is making the change partly to protect itself from possible fines for violating the Endangered Species Act. They had already been fined in 2007 by the DEP $25,000 for raking an area of the beach near a plover nest. They were also fined by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife at $28,000 fine for the death of a plover chick that he agency contended was killed by the beach rake. (Sea Girt is appealing the fines.)

Plover beach nest

The exposed nature of the nests for many beach-nesting bird species make them particularly vulnerable to human intervention, both intentional and unintentional.

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