Thursday, May 24, 2012

CT DEEP Memorial Day weekend message

Here is a message from Laura Saucier of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection concerning Piping Plovers and Memorial Day weekend, an instance when we really need your help more than ever! Please consider spending even a small amount of time monitoring this weekend outside of your usual schedule. We thank you all for your constant efforts. There will be Piping Plover chicks lost to heavy beach traffic this weekend - this is a sad reality - but the more people we have on the beach the lower these losses will be.

Priority sites to monitor should be Bluff Point State Park, Sandy and Morse Points in West Haven, Long Beach in Stratford and Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport, and the Milford Point cluster (sandbar, Cedar, Silver Sands State Park, Myrtle, Walnut, Laurel, East Broadway). I would encourage including Friday into coverage plans given it is supposed to be nice and warm.

Volunteers should be warned that eggs are hatching and there are chicks a-foot. There are already 4 chicks at Sandy Point. By the end of the week there will be chicks at Bluff Point (5 nests), Milford Point (2 nests), and Cedar (2 nests).

Secondary sites that could be checked if there is enough manpower would be Sherwood Island State Park, Hammonasset State Park's main beach, Harkness State Park, and Sasco Hill/Town Beach in Fairfield. Again, I’d like to see the priority sites covered well given the number of chicks slated to be running around them.

Please let volunteers know, if the worst case happens and they find a dead chick (not dead from a gull or cat) that they think someone stepped on…

Step 1.  DON'T DISTURB THE SITE - only if the person who stepped on the chick is present and belligerent so that you feel unsafe - CALL 911 - otherwise

Step 2. Call law enforcement - either DEEP 24 hour Emergency Dispatcher 1-800-842-HELP (4357), USFWS Agent Tom Ricardi cell 860-280-4894 or USFWS Refuge officer Doug Beaudreau cell 401-354-9329 (or all 3 if needed).

See your volunteer ID tags for call information in the event of a take.

Step 3. Take a breath and fill out the Incident Observation Report (the PDF form can be downloaded here). There are a lot of things to look around at to report on for this form, so take your time, it may be needed for the future. Try to keep other beach-goers away from the area if law enforcement is coming so that the scene remains as you found it. If you have a camera - take photos. If law enforcement is NOT coming ask them how you should proceed, especially if there is a dead chick, otherwise DON'T TOUCH or PICK UP the chick - and don't let others touch it.

Thank you all once again, and good luck this weekend.  Our staff will be working tirelessly all weekend long and we will see you out there! Stay tuned in to our blog (http://ctwaterbirds.blogspot.com/) for photos of hatchling Piping Plovers.

Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal waterbirds in Connecticut.

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