Davey Resource Group biologists provided construction monitoring services for the identification and protection of rare, threatened, and endangered species during a beach replenishment construction project along a 1.6 mile long stretch of shoreline in New Jersey.
Davey Resource Group was contracted by Manson Construction Company, Inc. to provide construction monitoring services for rare, threatened, and endangered (RTE) species. The project area extended approximately 1.6 miles of shoreline from Phillips Avenue in the Borough of Deal and to Takanassee Lake in Elberon (City of Long Branch), Monmouth County, New Jersey. DRG evaluated natural communities immediately adjacent to the project area (e.g., Takanassee Lake) to document species presence and use.
A beach-nesting bird habitat management and monitoring plan was developed by DRG specifically for the project area. The plan was prepared using guidance from NJDEP and USFWS and was submitted to USACE for approval. The plan was prepared to effect compliance with USACE, USFWS Endangered Species Act, and NJDEP Coastal Permit requirements. Construction monitoring was conducted for three (3) beach-nesting bird species, including piping plover (Charadrius melodus, Federally Threatened / State Endangered), least tern (Sternula antillarum, State Endangered), and roseate tern (Sterna dougallii, Federally Endangered / State Endangered), and one plant species, seabeach amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus, Federally Threatened). A survey for beach wormwood (Artemisia campestris caudata), a State-listed Special Concern plant species, was also conducted on a lot proposed for use as a construction staging area at the southern limit of the project area. DRG conducted construction monitoring for threatened and endangered species onsite on 60 separate days in 2016, 48 days in 2017, and 21 days in 2018. At the beginning of each nesting season, monitoring was conducted every other day to identify presence of any species of concern. Monitoring was subsequently conducted twice per week for beach-nesting birds and once per week for seabeach amaranth in accordance with the habitat protection plan approved by the NJDEP Endangered Nongame Species Program, USFWS and in accordance with the USACE Specifications. DRG provided training to the construction contractor in species protection.
For bird surveys, DRG biologists typically focused on areas of construction activity at various times of the day, as well as all potential habitat areas within the project area throughout the course of a visit. Surveys were conducted by walking beaches and adjacent areas, scanning with binoculars and spotting scopes, and listening for calls of key RTE species. DRG conducted piping plover monitoring throughout the full tidal range on most visits (min. 6 hours). All wildlife species observed were noted and included in daily monitoring sheets. Seabeach amaranth surveys were conducted by slowly walking appropriate portions of the project area in a grid-like fashion while recording all plant species observed. A summary report was prepared at the end of the monitoring season for submission to USACE, USFWS and NJDEP. Nesting species observed within the project area included American oystercatchers, which successfully fledged one (1) chick. In 2017, DRG staff biologists were featured in an article that highlighted the success of the nesting American oystercatcher pair in the project area.