Invasive species removal is conducted in all habitat types – from phragmities in the marshes to Japanese honeysuckle in the uplands. Invasive non-native plant species tend to not be as beneficial to animals as native species. This is because the non-natives don’t supply the correct fruit or seed type needed by wildlife or the non-native species don’t supply the fruit at the correct time of year for use by our migrating species.
As you drive along Route 13, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel, on Fisherman Island you may notice a long black pipe laying alongside the road. This pipe acts as a barrier to keep diamondbacked terrapins from venturing onto the road. Diamondbacked terrapins come ashore each summer looking for sandy ground to lay their eggs. Unfortunately for the terrapins they haven’t learned to dodge vehicles going 55 mph and therefore need to be discouraged from attempting to cross the highway in their search for that perfect nesting area. Staff and volunteers installed this barrier in hopes of saving as many terrapins as possible. As a side note,nesting terrapins were using Fisherman Island before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel was built.
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Shorebirds and Fisherman Island go together like peas and carrots! Being the most southern Virginia barrier island, Fisherman Island has important beach habitat for migrating and nesting shorebirds. Of course it is this very reason Fisherman Island is closed during the nesting season. The amazing camouflage of shorebird eggs on sand and shells can fool even the most seasoned biologist!