MaxKatt

Piping Plovers recovering.

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Like most of you, I want the species to survive, but struggle with all the reduced fishing access.  

 

Good news is Plover numbers seem to be rising as an unexpected positive side effect of Sandy.  

 

 

"Last year, 486 pairs of piping plovers nested along the shores of New York and New Jersey, approximately 10 percent of which did so on Fire Island. If current trends continue, the two states may soon reach their recovery goal of 575 breeding pairs set out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

 

 

Perhaps restrictions will ease.   

 

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The New York Times, By Annie Roth, June 21, 2019

 

The wrath of Hurricane Sandy’s powerful winds and violent storm surge left considerable damage across New York and New Jersey in October 2012. But for one tiny bird, the cataclysmic storm has been a big help.

 

“Hurricane Sandy was really good for piping plovers,” said Katie Walker, a graduate student in wildlife conservation at Virginia Tech.

The piping plover is a small, migratory shorebird that nests along North America’s Great Lakes and Atlantic Coast. The species, which is listed as endangered in New York State and threatened federally, has been the focus of intensive conservation efforts for decades. But on one island that was heavily damaged by the big storm, the piping plover population has increased by 93 percent, Ms. Walker and colleagues reported in the journal Ecosphere this month.

 

The finding highlights how major weather events can benefit wildlife on barrier islands that humans have engineered to resist storm damage.

 

Fire Island, a 32-mile-long barrier island off the southern coast of Long Island that is popular with vacationers, was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Sandy. The storm washed sand and seawater across the island, flooding homes, flattening dunes and breaching the island in three places.

 

Sand deposited from Fire Island’s oceanside onto its bayside created a number of new sand flats. Some areas were also breached by seawater but most were filled by the Army Corps of Engineers shortly after the storm as part of the recovery effort, and to help make the island better able to withstand future storms. 

For the threatened birds, this was great news. Piping plovers like to nest on dry, flat sand close to the shoreline, where the insects and crustaceans they feed on are easily accessible. But over the past century, coastal development and recreational use of shorelines have vastly reduced the amount of waterfront property available to the sand-colored shorebirds.

Ms. Walker and her colleagues analyzed aerial photographs of Fire Island taken before and after Hurricane Sandy and discovered that the storm, and the coastal engineering that followed it, increased the amount of suitable habitat for plovers by roughly 50 percent.

 

“It’s not surprising,” said Jonathan Cohen, assistant professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, who was not involved with the study. “When storms like Sandy flatten dunes and scour away vegetation, they create open sandy areas where plovers can lay their eggs.”

 

 

For the past three years, the majority of new and returning plovers chose to nest in habitats generated by the storm. And now, for the first time in nearly a decade, Fire Island’s population of piping plovers is growing.

“Hurricane Sandy was obviously very catastrophic for human infrastructure on Fire Island, but on an ecosystem level, it worked wonders,” said Ms. Walker.

Barrier islands like Fire Island are known as early successional habitats, which means they require regular disturbance events to keep their ecosystems in check. Under normal circumstances, Fire Island would experience disturbance events on an annual basis. However, engineers have gone to great lengths to stabilize the island, and now only powerful storms like Sandy are able to have a significant impact on the island’s ecosystem.

“Barrier islands are very dynamic systems, they don’t stay the same from one year to the next. The species that inhabit them there are adapted to these changes, so if we try to keep these systems static, we are going to lose these species,” said Dr. Cohen

 

Last year, 486 pairs of piping plovers nested along the shores of New York and New Jersey, approximately 10 percent of which did so on Fire Island. If current trends continue, the two states may soon reach their recovery goal of 575 breeding pairs set out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“If reproductive output remains high and plovers continue to nest in these regions, the population will continue to do well, but it definitely will hit a point where it’s going require another large scale disturbance event, another storm,” said Ms. Walker.

 

 

 

Edited by MaxKatt

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Posted (edited) · Report post

This is the problem . . . the "experts" have intervened to a point in capitulating to developers, tourists, etc.  All this disrupting the natural course of nature.  Then we are left having access denied because of extreme encroachment of barrier islands, wetlands, etc that have brought some species to the brink of extinction.  These "experts" are employing tactics to eradicate other natural species in an area to benefit one, another shortsighted method that may have longer lasting implications.  

 

"Barrier islands like Fire Island are known as early successional habitats, which means they require regular disturbance events to keep their ecosystems in check. Under normal circumstances, Fire Island would experience disturbance events on an annual basis. However, engineers have gone to great lengths to stabilize the island, and now only powerful storms like Sandy are able to have a significant impact on the island’s ecosystem"

Edited by cartopper

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2 hours ago, cartopper said:

This is the problem . . . the "experts" have intervened to a point in capitulating to developers, tourists, etc.  All this disrupting the natural course of nature.  Then we are left having access denied because of extreme encroachment of barrier islands, wetlands, etc that have brought some species to the brink of extinction.  These "experts" are employing tactics to eradicate other natural species in an area to benefit one, another shortsighted method that may have longer lasting implications.  

 

"Barrier islands like Fire Island are known as early successional habitats, which means they require regular disturbance events to keep their ecosystems in check. Under normal circumstances, Fire Island would experience disturbance events on an annual basis. However, engineers have gone to great lengths to stabilize the island, and now only powerful storms like Sandy are able to have a significant impact on the island’s ecosystem"

That’s how I see it 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

5 hours ago, cartopper said:

This is the problem . . . the "experts" have intervened to a point in capitulating to developers, tourists, etc.  All this disrupting the natural course of nature.  Then we are left having access denied because of extreme encroachment of barrier islands, wetlands, etc that have brought some species to the brink of extinction.  These "experts" are employing tactics to eradicate other natural species in an area to benefit one, another shortsighted method that may have longer lasting implications.  

 

"Barrier islands like Fire Island are known as early successional habitats, which means they require regular disturbance events to keep their ecosystems in check. Under normal circumstances, Fire Island would experience disturbance events on an annual basis. However, engineers have gone to great lengths to stabilize the island, and now only powerful storms like Sandy are able to have a significant impact on the island’s ecosystem"

 

Definitely agree with parts of this. Army Corps of Engineers does a great job of ruining every ecosystem they touch. Can’t wait to see what they do to Montauk.

Edited by C.Robin

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Don’t for a minute think this is about the bird.......the bird is just the excuse for a land grab......if and when the plover is fully recovered they have more reasons to keep land closed....other birds....bugs....plants.....it never ends.

we must change the endangered species act f we are to get our access back

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That or leave the drive on beaches to fishermen and surfers again. These beaches are limited as it is, yet you dont see one line in the water when they reach capacity. Whats even the point? When people cant even open their doors its so crowded....cant even see the water with all the tents they setup and to do what? Sunbake under a umbrella with the kids or throw a football? Just go to the regular beach for that. I feel like it wasnt even that long ago we would fish, have fires at night, fish some more, maybe surf before dark...no crowds. Now every bro or soccer mom with a 4x4 button is out there. And as for the plovers, if NY is so concerned about some bad apples destroying nests hire some damn park police that actually do their job. Have routine patrols, and not the rent a cops that ride around on green gators harassing people yet dont even know the rules. We all get punished and our recreation taken away due to drunk teens in doorless XJs. Dont even get me started on the removal of natural predators like the red fox or relocation....now your favoring one species to another. 

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It will never end. Never.

Between Audubon, probably millions in research grants to colledges, the God knows how many people paid to count them,  people to put up fences, and all the people that manage all of that, its one giant money grab that will never end. Hell its been almost 40 years already.

 

You really think all these people will ever say they are "recovered" and put themselves out of their cushy jobs?

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16 hours ago, Stonesipher said:

That’s how I see it 

 

Well they're not going to order Fire Island to be abandoned.  Maybe if a Super-Sandy wiped it off the map they might order it be left to go wild and stay uninhabited.  

 

Otherwise, best route is to make accommodations around the development.  If sand on the backside is a thing, they should find edges of already existing sanctuaries to create more of these shallow flat sand areas. 

 

Really though, it may be one, or more likely a rapid succession of a handful, of Super storms wiping the coast clean until the government says no more re-building...some spots we're just going to have to let go.

 

Ironically, it could be one unintended positive side effect of climate change...pushing humanity off coastlines globally.  

 

 

 

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I knew it was a sham when I saw a half-acre on the CT shoreline fenced off with "keep out - plover nesting site" signs all over the place....and the entire area was under at least a foot of water at high tide.

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