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American Oystercatcher Best Management Practices.

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Presentation on theme: "American Oystercatcher Best Management Practices."— Presentation transcript:

1 American Oystercatcher Best Management Practices

2 Goals Document most effective practices for managing American Oystercatcher populations Present management options to coastal managers interested in maintaining and increasing Oystercatcher populations Based on work conducted by the American Oystercatcher working group

3 Habitat management Nesting habitat may be limiting Habitat can be created via natural sand movement and dredge operations Recommendations – Stewardship of newly created or restored natural habitat is crucial to the life history strategy of Oystercatchers – disturbance management – Work with Army Corp to place dredge material in a manner and location to optimize nesting potential. Adjacent to foraging sites, larger islands, sloping profile, vegetation management (McGowan et al 2005)

4 Disturbance management Widespread disturbance from pedestrians, vehicles, dogs, boats, etc Breeding and non-breeding season Effects: expose eggs and chicks, direct and indirect mortality, abandonment of nest and roost sites Recommendations – Symbolic fencing of nesting areas from March to August (Atlantic coast) and Feb to August (Gulf Coast) – Closure size – 200m is commonly used or identified as a minimum size for nests. 300m for pairs with chicks. Beaches with chicks should be closed to vehicle traffic – Closure of small emergent islands/spoil islands to boat traffic during the nesting season (and winter for roosting sites) – Closures should be accompanied by informational signs and programs whenever possible

5 Predator management Predators account for the majority of nest and chick losses during the breeding season A consistent policy surrounding predator control must be a key part of long-term management and growth of the American Oystercatcher population Considerable variation in effectiveness of predator control

6 Predator Management Recommendations – Understand local suite of predators – Direct control Complete removal rarely possible or even desirable Concentrated effort in a short time window (Simons and Waldstein 2010) – Late winter/early spring Most effective on islands where re-colonization is slower (VA, NC, GA, SC) Specific techniques (trapping/shooting/egg removal) dependant on local/state/federal regulations – Indirect control Electric fences/low predator fences – can be useful in specific instances (MA) Aversion conditioning – little reported success on larger scale – Engage with animal rights group/public directly and honestly – Make every effort to follow humane and ethical practices

7 Education Public involvement and support are crucial for long-term success Targeted outreach and education are vital to developing connections between human and natural communities Recommendations – Identify stakeholders (participatory stakeholder analysis) – Direct engagement – seasonal interpretive staff and interpretive signs at key sites, social media, public outreach – Offer alternatives to local problems/issues – eg dog friendly beaches, education campaign about boat wakes – Engage decisionmakers – GA DNR brought officials to visit bird nesting areas and see problems firsthand

8 Summary American Oystercatchers and associated beach nesting birds continue to be at risk from threats ranging from habitat loss and degradation to elevated predator populations. A practical, consistent, and coordinated approach to management of environmental and human impacts on the beach nesting bird community is vital to long-term conservation success. Disturbance management, predator control, habitat management, education, and even social networking are important components of the successful management of beach nesting birds. The American Oystercatcher Working Group has identified a set of best management practices BMPs will be revised as new research and techniques become available

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