Matthew Bailey, Wildlife Biologist, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, 302-382-4151, or Beth Shockley, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Stretch of beach at Cape Henlopen closed to safeguard piping plovers
LEWES (June 29, 2012) – In order to protect newly hatched piping plover chicks, a stretch of beach at Gordon’s Pond in Cape Henlopen State Park will be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic starting July 3.
The closure will remain in effect until the last plover chick is able to fly. Fledging usually occurs in late August. Piping plovers are listed as Threatened on the Federal Endangered Species List, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The area closed will be about a half mile long, located between the Herring Point surf vehicle crossover and the northernmost observation tower on the Gordon’s Pond end of the beach. For more than a decade, this area has been closed each summer to protect breeding piping plovers. Typically the closure is enacted in late May or early June when the first plover nest is found. However, this season all plover nesting has been oriented toward the western edge of the site, nearer to the shoreline of Gordon’s Pond than to the ocean shoreline. Consequently, traffic moving along the ocean side of the site was determined to be unlikely to disturb the plovers as they incubated their eggs. Permission was granted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to leave the ocean side of the site open until just before the estimated hatch date for the plovers. Hatch is estimated to happen next week.
Once the piping plover chicks at Gordon’s Pond have hatched, they will leave the nest within hours and can be expected to be found either on the pond side or the ocean side of the Gordon’s Pond site. They may change their location from day to day.
For more information on piping plovers and volunteer plover monitor training, please contact Matt Bailey at 302-382-4151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vol. 42, No. 243