Monomoy Refuge to Conduct Controlled Burn South Monomoy Tern Colony

Piping plover

Piping plovers, along with common and roseate terns, are among the birds that nest on Monomoy.

CHATHAM – Firefighters will conduct a 33.5 acre controlled burn on the northern tip of South Monomoy Island on Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.

The burn will take place on Monday and December 15.

The purpose of the controlled burn is to reduce excess vegetation to improve nesting habitat for common and roseate terns.

Beach grass has become thick with a layer of dead grass since the area was last successfully burned in 2012.

Terns prefer nesting in habitat that is a patchy mosaic of bare sandy areas interspersed with pockets of herbaceous vegetation, including American beach grass, seaside goldenrod and beach pea.

This burn is a continuation of a series of maintenance burns that have kept the nesting area relatively free of duff and woody vegetation and have allowed common and roseate terns to spread out their nesting density and expand their use to a wider area of available habitat.

Chatham residents and visitors to the area should expect to see smoke coming from South Monomoy Island on the day of the burn.

The Island will be closed to public access on the burn day and the burn will be conducted by a trained team comprised of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service firefighters.

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