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Connecticut’s Shorebird Monitoring Program 2014. The Federal Volunteer Services Agreement Excerpts: I understand that I will not receive any compensation.

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Presentation on theme: "Connecticut’s Shorebird Monitoring Program 2014. The Federal Volunteer Services Agreement Excerpts: I understand that I will not receive any compensation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Connecticut’s Shorebird Monitoring Program 2014

2 The Federal Volunteer Services Agreement Excerpts: I understand that I will not receive any compensation for the above service and that volunteers are NOT considered Federal employees for any purpose other than tort claims and injury compensation. I understand that volunteer service is not creditable for leave accrual or any other employee benefits. I also understand that either the government or I may cancel this agreement at any time by notifying the other party. I understand that my volunteer position may require a reference check, background investigation, and/or a criminal history inquiry in order for me to perform my duties. I understand that all publications, films, slides, videos, artistic or similar endeavors, resulting from my volunteer services as specifically stated in the attached job description, will become the property of the United States, and as such, will be in the public domain and not subject to copyright laws. I understand the health and physical condition requirements for doing the work as described in the job description and at the project location, and certify that the statement I have checked below is true.

3 Volunteer Duties and Responsibilities Work at least one 4-hour shift a month from April until the end of August. Observe and collect data for nesting piping plovers, least terns, common terns and American oystercatchers Record shorebird behavior in detail and submit as appropriate. Report any problems encountered (i.e., nest abandonment, predator problems, public problems) as soon as possible. A secondary but important function involves educating beachgoers who may have questions about what you are doing, or piping plovers and least terns in general, may be sitting or walking too close to a nest, or have a dog on the beach. Opportunities to assist with predator exclosures, protective habitat fencing, and night monitoring may arise. Help may be needed in April with symbolic string and signs in Milford, Stratford and West Haven. Help may be needed during the first week of June to check atypical beaches for any undetected piping plover pairs. Volunteers are also invited to help monitor nesting areas at night during July 4th firework shows.

4 Volunteer Conduct While being a Plover Monitor can be enjoyable, it is a job with responsibilities in the areas of behavior, dress, and appearance. Your performance affects public perception of wildlife management and endangered species conservation. For example: Volunteers must follow all procedures outlined in this document to ensure that they can monitor the birds without causing harassment. Volunteers need to be neat in dress and appearance. Shorts are allowed but bathing suits are not. Shirts must be worn at all times. Volunteers must have a current Volunteer Services Agreement on file with USFWS. Please note that you may bring guests with you while monitoring, but unless they have signed this form as well, they are not protected by the Federal government for liability purposes. Volunteers must not drink alcohol, swim, sunbathe, smoke, fish or partake in any similar activities while monitoring.

5 Monitoring Procedures Bring the following items with you : wear your USFWS volunteer ID card binoculars (optional: spotting scope ) piping plover brochures data sheets or notepad and writing utensil You may also like to have: insect repellant suntan lotion/sunblock jacket/coat, gloves during chilly or windy days water & food, hot drinks on cold days a camera or camcorder

6 Monitoring Procedures For safety reasons (yours and the birds) do not monitor on days of inclement weather (e.g., violent winds, heavy rain, severe cold, thunderstorms) and use the buddy system when possible. Most surveys require walking several miles on semi-remote sandy or rocky beaches. Your survey may include periods of standing, bending, hiking over uneven terrain, and exposure to sun and wind. Begin survey by recording weather, time, tide, date, and observer name(s). Before heading down the beach, scan area with binoculars paying close attention to the species and location of all birds on the beach, especially plovers. Also, record any human activities occurring on the beach. Scanning the beach before approaching allows you to observe the behavior of the birds before they are disturbed, after which they may exhibit defensive behavior. Do not enter into the symbolic fencing for any reason and stay as far away from closed areas as possible. Do not come between birds and their nests. We recommend walking along the water line when monitoring. Record all behaviors of piping plovers in detail such as possible pairing, courtship, feeding, incubating, and defense of territory. Note the location of territories if birds are actively defending them. Pay close attention to the area where plovers are first sited because adults will lead you away from a nest or chick.

7 Monitoring Procedures Reduce time spent monitoring areas with established plover pairs or nests. Nests are very difficult to find and more susceptible to predation and abnormal embryonic development when not attended by adult plovers. If a new nest is found, note landmarks on beach (large log, wrack line, section, pole number, etc) and call CT DEEP. Never place any man-made objects at or near the nest or attempt to mark the nest in any way, as it may attract predators. Only US Fish and Wildlife Service or CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staff may exclose nests. Nests will be exclosed as soon as possible after they are reported. If you see excessive trash or any other potentially dangerous objects within closed areas, contact the USFWS or CT DEEP wildlife technicians for removal. Once a nest is exclosed, there is no need to keep tabs on the number of eggs in the nest. If an adult is incubating a nest it is assumed that all eggs are accounted for. Flushing an adult off the nest will expose the eggs to the elements unnecessarily. If a nest appears to be abandoned (parents are not observed near nest even as you have moved away from the nest) or destroyed call, CT DEEP. Many nests wash out during full moon high tides. Other causes of unsuccessful nests are abandonment due to disturbance, destruction (both intentional and unintentional) by humans or pets, or predated by fox, crows, rats, domestic cats, raccoon, and other predators. Record sightings or signs of predators on the beach or plover areas, such as tracks, scat, and digging. Crows and gulls will often perch on signs or exclosures and may predate adults and chicks.

8 Monitoring Procedures Once chicks have hatched, record the number of adults and number of chicks seen. This information will help determine the number of chicks that survive until fledging, an indicator of a successful nest. Note other avian species in immediate area If you see any suspicious behavior or suspect a person may be responsible for destroying or harassing adult piping plovers, nests, and chicks, follow the Good Witness guidelines, call USFWS Law Enforcement or CT DEEP EnCon Police (see Important Phone Numbers sheet). Once you are in a safe location, fill out a Plover Incident Observation Report (attached). When you get home, please send Laura Saucier an email to let her know there was an issue and if/how it was resolved. Educate beach goers in a friendly and informative manner about piping plovers. Relay beach regulations only if you feel comfortable. Never attempt to physically stop someone from violating regulations. Volunteers are not responsible for enforcing beach regulations, but instead informing the public about what the regulations are. If a problem or hostile situation arises, diffuse the matter quickly and continue down the beach. To protect the plovers as much as possible, do not voluntarily disclose nest locations. You may explain the importance of the predator-proof exclosures if questioned.

9 Monitoring Schedule Monitoring is needed April-August on a daily basis. Times of high beach traffic are the most critical (weekends, holidays, warm “beach” weather when school ends). Sign-up by emailing with your requested schedule either with specific dates or a certain day of the week each month. Please include AM or PM if possible (specific time not needed) If you need to alter your schedule or cannot monitor at your scheduled time please let us know as soon as you can at Available locations include Sherwood Island SP (Westport), Pleasure Beach (Bridgeport), Long Beach, Russian Beach (Stratford), Milford Point, Silver Sands SP (Milford), Sandy/Morse Points (West Haven), Griswold Point (Old Lyme - early in season only), Bluff Point SP (Groton). Schedules should be completed and sent to us by April 1st if possible. Areas of greatest need include those with the highest concentration of birds and people: Long Beach, Milford Point, Sandy/Morse Points, Bluff Point.

10 Data Submission Data submission can be completed by electronic form, “Online Data Submission Form”, on the AAfCW blog ( in the right-hand column under “Important Documents”. Please enter all required fields. Alternatively data can be sent to as in past years. All questions and comments should be sent to Field datasheets, a Piping Plover brochure, USFWS and CT DEEP documents and more can also be found on our blog under “Important Documents”. If you use eBird you may enter your data as you would normally then share the checklist with but please ensure you enter ALL applicable information we request on the We will send you a quick follow-up email simply to confirm receipt of your data and information. If you have bird photos that need identification, questions concerning monitoring, unknown sightings, want to tell us a cool story about your trip to the beach, noted a lot of loose dogs, etc. please email us. We’re here to help! Please submit your data as soon as you can after returning from monitoring. Maintaining a respectful distance from the birds is more important than data. Please record your hours and time in the field for each trip and submit it to us.

11 Important Phone Numbers and Contacts To report an emergency or life threatening situation, call 911! For routine questions email To report a new nest, damage to symbolic fencing and signs, predators, vandalism: First email Laura Saucier AND Rebecca Foster If you do not get a response from the email, call one of the following people: Laura Saucier, CT DEEP Wildlife Technician860-675-8130 Rebecca Foster, CT DEEP Piping Plover Technician401-741-7403 Jenny Dickson, CT DEEP Biologist 860-675-8130 Kristina Vagos, USFWS Biologist860-399-2513 ext. 113 Natural Resources Law Enforcement Protocol: To report take or threats to birds/wildlife, you may call the following phone numbers in descending order. Once contact is made, you are relieved of making any further calls. When you get home, send Laura Saucier an email to let her know there was an issue and if/how it was resolved. CT DEEP EnCon Police860-424-3333 (explain that you are a USFWS volunteer and need to be put in touch with an officer closest to where you are) Doug Beaudreau, Federal Wildlife Officer401-354-9329 (cell) Tom Ricardi, USFWS Special Agent860-280-4894 (cell) Rick Potvin, USFWS Refuge Manager860-961-4247 (cell)

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