|Wikis Way, Morris Island
Chatham, MA 02633
One of the most significant management efforts on Monomoy is to create a "safe harbor" for coastal birds. By the early 1990s the refuge's resident populations of great black-backed and herring gulls had skyrocketed. The gulls on Monomoy overwhelmed smaller, less aggressive birds, particularly terns, which could not compete for nesting sites with the gulls. In 1996, the Service began a restoration project by creating a "gull-free-zone" on a portion of South Monomoy, and within the next few years the seabirds and shorebirds showed a significant comeback that has continues today. The project has directly benefited the Federally protected roseate tern and piping plover.
Piping plovers and roseate terns are not the only Federally protected species to receive attention from refuge staff. The refuge has established a population of Federally threatened Northeastern beach tiger beetles on Monomoy. These beetles have been collected from a Martha's Vineyard beach and were relocated to Monomoy. The Federally protected tiger beetle has been on a downward population trend because of impacts by off-road vehicles and beach habitat manipulation. Only three populations of Northeastern tiger beetles currently exist north of Chesapeake Bay.
The beaches on Monomoy provide important spawning habitat for horseshoe crabs. Refuge biologists monitor the horseshoe crab population due to the importance of their eggs as a shorebird food source.