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Piping Plover Production Up At Cape Hatteras National Seashore


Piping plover production is looking up at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service file photo.

One of the best years in recent memory for piping plover production seems to be under way at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, according to park managers.

Through mid-June, 15 plover chicks had fledged, said Resource Management Chief Thayer Broili.

"We’re having the best year we’ve ever had for fledging piper plover chicks, probably the best in 20 years since we’ve been monitoring down there," he said.

The chief attributed the relatively good success rate in large part to more monitoring and protection of plover nests, but added that a lack of storms likely helped as well.

“We’ve got more staff to do the monitoring and put in the buffers and respond to breeding situations, and then some people would possibly attribute it to the fact that we’ve been a little bit more restrictive to the areas," Chief Thayer said. "But there could be other factors involved. Weather, we haven't had any big storms. Weather plays a big factor in this.”

Some off-road-vehicle groups and surf casters have complained about the restrictions the seashore managers have taken to safeguard the plovers, a threatened species with fewer than 2,000 pairs on the Atlantic Seaboard, maintaining that the seashore overall offers poor plover habitat and that buffer zones places around nests are overly large and can prevent beach access not only to ORVs but also to pedestrians.

In their resource report on the chicks, park managers noted that a number of nests were lost to overwashes, and some chicks to predation.


Better management yields results. Yes, the lack of storms have helped. But the trend line for the last few years is significantly higher than it was when NPS let ORVs run roughshod all over the seashore.

Maybe the plovers have been so successful breeding this year because the National Park Service has been doing way more than restricting beaches to ORVs and pedestrians. Locals on Hatteras Island have pictures of PARK RANGERS shooting foxes and other wildlife (on a protected national seashore) to ensure the safety of these birds. Although, yes, it is very important to help animals in need, i.e. the plovers, but SHOOTING and killing all other wildlife in its "poor plover habitat" isn't the lesser of two evils. The Audubon and the NPS should be punished for its unlawful treatment of all other wildlife, excluding the Plover.

Everyone supporting the Defenders of Wildlife and Audobon Society need to realize just what they are supporting, they say they are for protecting wildlife but in fact, they are causing needless killings of thousands of native animals on Hatteras Island. I have seen the video of the fox being shot because it walked to close to a nest, is this protecting wildlife or special interest groups playing God? I am all for protecting wildlife but have been an ORV participant for 20 of my 23 years at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The ORV users are the ones that clean up these beaches and protect it. There have been more Park Service vehicles kill these birds than ORV users because they do not follow the rules. Never have I seen a ORV user be reckless or go near any enclosure. And what is even worse is the government sending swat teams to watch us while minding our own business. The ORV users do not go out there to drive around all day, they follow a speed limit and find and spot where they set up for the day. The economy on the island has greatly suffered, locals are forced to leave because they are being laid off after their families have been there for hundreds of years. We pay taxes on this land but special interest groups want it for their own playground. What if this were your community? This issue isn't about birds, it is about greed. Just a few miles away the Audobon Society owns Pelican Island in the sound but they are allowing it to just erode away leaving no habitat for the pelicans that live there, does this sound like conservation? Get educated and get the real facts.

I find it comical that the Audubon Society wants to protect birds when they're named after a man who was well known for his killing of birds so that he could draw them. Not exactly a conservationist...

Destroying natural predators just so 15 birds can fledge is ridiculous. This isn't conservation. It's a land grab. Plain and simple. Perhaps the entire community of Hatteras, Salvo, Waves, Buxton, etc. should get together and go for a drive/walk/etc.

Whoever wrote this comment is obviously biased and has never been to Hatteras Island. The notion that ORVs run roughshod over the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area is blatant lie that the environmental extremists want you to believe. If you have the tiniest doubt about what I say, seek the truth and come here and see for yourself.

Whoever wrote this comment is obviously biased and has never been to Hatteras Island. The notion that ORVs run roughshod over the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area is blatant lie that the environmental extremists want you to believe. If you have the tiniest doubt about what I say, seek the truth and come here and see for yourself.

And anyone who can't say the current name of the unit correctly in a silly attempt to skew the issue shouldn't be relied upon to be the paragon of objectivity, either. How long are going to keep that up?

The PROPER name for the "UNIT" is Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. The recreational area component of the name is important, sorry. The NPS only chooses to use the allowed short name.

There is no data showing the extensive closures have attributed to any claimed successes. As been known for years, weather and predation are the only major factors. The weather was good this year, thus successes are up.

The NPS has failed to do basic habitat management, which would help bring birds away from highly used recreational areas. They are and want to blame failures on ORVs and pedestrians. The extensive closures are blatantly closing large areas and there is no effort by the NPS to provide access via corridors or sensible and flexible closure sizes. These excessive closures are negatively affecting tourism based economy of the island. This is the cause for complaints.

Wonder why the piping plovers and turtles had such a great 2010 in Hatteras? The Atlantic Ocean around the Outer Banks region was about as quiet as it could be this year. Ask any kite boarder or longtime OBX surfer. No wave action equals zero over wash.....period! Don't believe them. Check out the REAL SCIENCE at the Duck Research Pier in Duck, N.C. Once your on the site, click on wave height. You can go back to all the way to 1985. Look up some of the plover's bad years like 2002. See the large wave heights in April and May? That's called wash over folks. Most of their bad years have had one big swell around May or June. That's just the plain and simple truth and that's all it! Look at this years chart. It was one of the flattest years since records have been kept. Combine that information with the daily killing of every animal in the Park but seagulls. You begin to see the real picture no matter how Derb spins it. Good for the plovers, but don't say it was all because I was not within a 1000 meters of them. That's just plain stupid. THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION WANT ACCESS TO THEIR NATIONAL PARKS...THERE IS ROOM FOR ALL.

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