Cape Cod National Seashore Releases Shorebird Management Plan

CC_National_Seashore_Fort_Hill_Area_001EASTHAM – A comprehensive shorebird management plan with an associated environmental assessment (EA) has been released for public view.

The Cape Cod National Seashore held an open house last week about the plan.

The EA evaluates four alternatives to protect and manage nesting, staging and migrating state, federal and special status shorebirds and their habitat, while allowing for public access.

Due to the predation on shorebird eggs and chicks, the productivity of nesting shorebirds, like the piping plover, have been trending downward.

“We continue to have a lot of issues with predation, whether it’s from the crows or coyotes or fox,” said Seashore Superintendent George Price. “It was time for us to pull back and take a look at all of our management challenges and what are some of the management tools that can be implemented.”

In response, the Seashore evaluated strategies in the EA to protect these species by implementing new or additional methods.

“Protection of these species is complex given the seashore’s annual visitation, which exceeds four million people, coupled with land use changes that have occurred on Cape Cod, said Price. “This comprehensive plan incorporates past shorebird management practices and current knowledge to provide a management strategy for maintaining populations of these threatened shorebirds that have long been part of the seashore’s ecosystem.”

The plan’s alternatives evaluate levels of protection for staging and migratory shorebirds and promotes consistent recreational access.

The main differences between the alternatives lie in the extent of visitor access and methods of managing predator impacts.

“From a visitor’s access point of view, at the bottom line, I don’t see any significant changes other than a recognition that we have our lifeguarded beaches and we want to continue to have access to them as well,” said Price.

By JUSTIN SAUNDERS, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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