Saturday, July 9, 2016

Nesting Pair of Piping Plovers at Island Beach State Park


A pair of piping plovers is now nesting on the beach at Island Beach State Park, the first ocean side nest in more than 25 years and the first in the park in more than a decade.

This is great news for recovery of this federally threatened and state endangered bird.

NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists hope this is an indication of a rebounding population after sharp declines witnessed between 2003 and 2014.

To give this new pair of piping plovers their best chance of successfully fledging their young, sportfishing vehicles are temporarily restricted from the beach. DEP officials did not make this decision lightly, recognizing that anglers who have purchased passes for the privilege of driving on the beach will be temporarily restricted from the area.

Without this measure, it would be highly likely that one or more of the chicks would be killed by the high volume of traffic this section of beach experiences on a typical summer weekend day. The state recognizes its responsibility to support the recovery of this imperiled species and to follow guidance provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state Endangered and Nongame Species Program biologists to protect the chicks.

Pedestrian access to the area will remain open, but the public is required to observe fencing and other regulations (such as no dogs on beach) to protect the nest and chicks. While the vehicle closure will provide some protection for the plovers, it by no means guarantees that plover chicks will survive. Many other factors play a role in determining fate of piping plover broods, such as weather, predation and feeding success.

For more information on the nest, including its impact on park visitors, and links to more information, visit njfishandwildlife.com/news/2016/ploversreturn.htm

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