Long Island Piping Plover Protection
BY TED KOEHLER, ASHLAND FWCO
Piping plovers are both federally and state listed as endangered and Long Island is currently the only area in the State of Wisconsin where piping plovers nest successfully. The piping plover has been regularly nesting on Long Island since 1998. Between 1998 and 2006, an average of between two and six adult piping plovers were present on Long Island during the nesting season and zero to five chicks fledged each year for an average of just more than one per year.
However, between 2006 and last season, annual numbers of adults have increased, ranging between nine and twelve each year. In addition, the number of chicks fledged has also increased to a range of six to twelve, for an average of seven per year. This welcome trend is can be partially credited to the hard work of the partners in managing and this key portion of habitat and providing on-the-ground protection of the bird’s themselves during the nesting and fledging seasons.
Protection of plovers on Long Island, which is part of the National Park Service’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and Bad River Tribe land, is a cooperative effort between the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, The Nature Conservancy and Johnson family; and the University of Minnesota.Work associated with plovers includes surveying for adults establishing territories and nests, installing fence nest enclosures, monitoring and protection of enclosures to promote fledgling success and finally, informing the public to elicit their support. On-the-ground protection of the piping plovers on Long Island comes from two monitors staying on the island throughout the nesting and fledging season, and have been supported for the last two years by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program – Great Lakes. They endure all types of weather conditions and interactions with the public, but as the numbers have shown, done a wonderful job.