PHOTO: ALECIA SMITH
SHOREBIRD RECOVERY PROGRAM - HABITAT PROTECTION
Disturbance is one of the leading causes of the decline of both snowy plovers and least terns on west coast beaches. Fencing with signs establishes a visible boundary and physical reminder of closed nesting habitat. Fences provide a refuge from disturbance for chicks and nesting adults, and increases nesting success.
On Ormond Beach we maintain fencing around 3 large nesting areas, enclose a total of 100 acres of high value nesting habitat with 2 miles of fence line.
At HB the habitat we protect is comparatively small (3-5 acres), but without fencing nests would not survive on this busy urban beach.
We do our best to predict where birds will put there nests and enclose these areas in habitat fencing, but every season we have several nests outside of our fences. When this happens we erect temporary symbolic fencing. Easier to carry down the beach with a handful of volunteers.
With miles of fencing, good signage is critical to communicating why the fences are there. We are also required to post relevant ordinance information, so authorities can enforce local laws. We try to balance "enforcement" signs with educational signs and signs developed by school children.