Sections of Collier beaches to close temporarily for nesting shorebirds
Monday, April 02, 2012
Media contact: Carli Segelson (FWC), 772-215-9459;
Nancy Richie (city of Marco Island), 239-389-5003
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will post signs and temporarily close portions of some Collier County beach areas to help protect nesting shorebirds. Sections of Big Marco Pass Critical Wildlife Area, known locally as Sand Dollar Island, will be closed as of April 3. Caxambas Pass Critical Wildlife Area will also be closed on April 3. Portions of Marco Island city beach (just south of Tigertail Beach) will be closed in mid-April.
Areas will remain closed until the end of nesting season in mid-August or until nesting is complete, whichever comes first.
The four species that nest in these protected areas are the least tern, black skimmer, snowy plover and Wilson’s plover. The least tern and snowy plover are listed as state-threatened and the black skimmer is a state species of special concern, and the three birds will be included in FWC’s shorebird management plan that is being written.
FWC biologists, with the help of volunteers, manage the nesting areas to maximize nesting success for these species. Nesting areas will be closed off with “symbolic fencing,” which consists of signs connected by twine and marked with flagging.
These closed areas protect the nesting birds from unnecessary disturbances and protect their nests from being accidentally stepped on. All of these species nest in the open and lay their well-camouflaged eggs directly on the sand, making them nearly invisible to predators and to the untrained human eye.
The closed areas on the beaches may change or shift throughout the nesting season, depending on where the birds have chosen to nest at any given time.
If you would like more information about living with beach-nesting shorebirds, go to MyFWC.com/Wildlife, and download the “Co-existing with Florida’s beach-nesting birds” brochure.