Presentation on theme: "Beach Nesting Birds and Mechanical Grooming Practices Michelle van Deventer Sarasota Audubon Society Photo of Least Tern chicks taken by Kay von Schmidt."— Presentation transcript:
Beach Nesting Birds and Mechanical Grooming Practices Michelle van Deventer Sarasota Audubon Society Photo of Least Tern chicks taken by Kay von Schmidt on May 31, 1968 (Siesta Key, FL)
Sarasota County & Beach Nesting Birds 4 important spots for BNBs Least Terns have nested on north Lido for over 40 years Fledge rate not been sustainable (<0.56/pair) for ~5 years Earliest reports are from the late 1960’s of ~200 nests on Siesta Key, in addition nesting on north Lido Dramatic declines in beach nesting LETE due to coastal development and disturbance in 1960’s - 70’s, marked by their migration to gravel rooftops Sarasota County lost 36% of its beach/dune habitat from 1948 – 1987 (Source: SC Estuarine Shoreline Inventory Final Report, 1988. Mote Technical Report)
Siesta Key and Least Terns In past years, courting and mating have been observed on north Siesta Key, but no nesting has materialized. Why?
Beach Raking Overview FDEP issues “beach cleaning” permits – None of the 8 conditions for a beach cleaning permit offer any protection to foraging, resting or breeding marine birds (see handout) – Despite the impact on sea and shorebirds, the DEP is not “mandated” to protect birds – Often only one DEP rep for large areas means little oversight and a lack of responsiveness – FWC role is reactive rather than proactive Public beach raking activities are generally just as aggressive, if not more so, than private property grooming
May 2008 – north Siesta February 2009 – north Siesta
Renourishment: Where’s the Habitat?? “An additional benefit of beach restoration projects is that they quickly restore shorebird and marine turtle habitat.” Why Restore Eroded Beaches? at www.dep.state.fl.us Raking starts almost before sand is dry Historic nesting area are protected from construction work – Nesting areas may also be eroded, subject to overwash and need renourishment – Lack of raking oversight prevents flocks from moving into new nesting habitat
Lido Key, April 2009 Recently arrived Black Skimmers rest on a section of renourished beach before being flushed by mechanical raking equipment.
Summary Mechanical raking practices result in habitat loss and BNB declines both directly and indirectly Need for FWC involvement in beach cleaning permitting process is critical – Permit conditions must consider impacts to breeding and wintering coastal bird populations, particularly imperiled species Better oversight of raking practices and effective enforcement of regulations Greater education regarding the connection between healthy beaches, waters and marine bird populations.