New regulations will be introduced this year regarding the safety of piping plovers. But this new rules will not be as strict as the previous ones, allowing people to enjoy beach activities as well.
Even if some beach communities were not satisfied with the previous regulations, thanks to them the piping plover population increased from 140 pairs in 1986 to 680 pairs in 2015. Back in 1986, the Atlantic Coast piping plover became protected by the Endangered Species Act.
If even if their population is almost fifth times bigger, this bird is still threatened compared with the number of pairs that lived a century ago. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife proved their commitment to the 26-year-plan which targeted to save the piping plovers from extinction.
According to Paul Phifer, Assistant Regional Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the new regulations will combine the flexibility of recreational beach activities with the nesting plovers’ conservation.
In other words, the officials are trying to establish a balance between beachgoers needs and the nesting season of these shorebirds.
Wildlife experts plan to remove some fences and move the nests from parking lots to special nesting areas. This way, vehicles will have more access to beach areas which have been banned until recently, and the birds will still be safe in the nesting sites.
Authorities underline that all vehicles will have to be escorted despite the fact that they will have more access from now on. By doing this, officials are trying to prevent these shorebirds from being harmed.
Also, in every town, there will be well-trained wildlife conservationists, who will monitor the piping plovers at all times when vehicles pass around their nesting areas. Until now, three towns including Barnstable, Plymouth, and Orleans have applied for this new program.
In the worst case scenario, if the piping plovers’ number drops below 500 pairs, the measures will become stricter once again. Experts calculate that maximum 44 birds will die every year due to these regulations, but they consider that this is not a critical number, as it represents between 1 to 7 percent of the entire population.
Based on the statistics, the shorebirds population has reached to 1,870 pairs across the Northeast, with the biggest increase in New England, where the piping plovers’ numbers rose from 184 to 918 specimens between 1986 and 2015.