Written by: Elizabeth Dancer, Environmental Scientist
Even in the most pristine of settings, beaches are dynamic environments. Tides and storm surges carve sand from one shoreline, only to deposit it onto another. In a small state like New Jersey, prime real estate for beach-nesting birds is already limited, but add in rampant coastal development, congregations of beach-goers (who flock to the beach at the same time birds are attempting to nest), predators, sea level rise and intensified storm events, and it makes sense that most of these bird species have been State and/or Federally listed as rare, threatened, or endangered. The bottom line is that beach-nesting birds have it rough.
Since Superstorm Sandy swept through the Mid-Atlantic region back in 2012, coastal resiliency has become a top priority for both federal and state agencies. Since most of these projects including beach renourishment, seawall repairs, and improvements to stormwater infrastructure are federally-funded, measures must be implemented to protect beach-nesting birds when these construction activities must be conducted during the breeding season. When projects cannot be scheduled to avoid the spring and summer months during which shorebirds are nesting, contract specifications usually require that a qualified environmental monitor/biologist be onsite to document breeding activity within and near the project area to ensure that project activities do not disrupt that breeding activity. DRG employs multiple trusted field botanists/ecologists that can guide you through the process of coordination with regulatory agencies, project planning, and conducting surveys/monitoring.
DRG's ornithologists have been involved in numerous coastal resiliency projects along the Jersey shore. We prepared the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan (2013-2017) for the New Jersey Army National Guard Sea Girt Training Center in Monmouth County, which included the objective of creating, enhancing, and maintaining habitat for piping plover and least tern, among other protected species. From 2016 to 2018, we provided construction monitoring services for piping plover and colonial nesting birds along a 1.6-mile portion of the ongoing USACE Sandy Hook to Barnegat Inlet Beach Erosion Control Project located along the Atlantic Coast of New Jersey in the Borough of Deal and the City of Long Branch in Monmouth County. The renourishment activities that took place along this stretch of shoreline led to the creation of new beach habitat, which supported a successful American oystercatcher nest in 2018.
Most recently, in the spring and summer of 2020, we performed construction monitoring for beach-nesting birds during seawall repair work along Hereford Inlet in the City of North Wildwood, Cape May County. During the monitoring period, we documented black skimmers, American oystercatchers, and common terns as successfully nesting on Stone Harbor Point, a recognized Important Bird Area located adjacent to the project area.
DRG works closely with project personnel to coordinate with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, and NJ Department of Environmental Protection to develop species-specific monitoring plans for the project site and educate construction personnel about beach-nesting birds and ways to balance their needs with the project’s objectives.
For Further Information Regarding Shorebirds Or To Have DRG Provide Shorebird Monitoring Services For Your Project, Contact Us.
In November 2019, Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants, Inc. joined Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) as a wholly-owned subsidiary and will be doing business as Amy Greene Environmental, a Davey Company. We are thrilled to expand our team of experts with additional resources and opportunities to support you.