2019 Beaches Conference Concurrent 2 Long Descriptions – A Tale of Conflict
Beaches, coasts, and our near shore are bustling places of activity. These areas are home to roughly 1/3 (39%) of the US population and support a myriad of shorebirds, invertebrates, whales, and more. As population increase so do potential conflicts with wildlife. These conflicts are not limited to the water’s edge or strictly the summer season. This panel will discuss common and some less obvious conflicts between wildlife and humans including impacts to nesting shorebirds, migratory birds, and the North Atlantic right whale.
Maine and New Hampshire host two rare and endangered species that require sandy beaches in order to raise their young, Piping Plovers and Least Terns. These birds are reliant on a healthy beach ecosystem to survive, and managing for these birds, in turn, manages for the beach itself benefiting a wide variety of species- humans included. Wildlife Biologists from Maine Audubon, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will talk about what work we do to manage for these birds, and how it helps beach landowners and beach-goers as well.
In addition to providing nesting sites for birds, New England’s beaches also serve as critical habitat during the non-breeding season. Although often lower at these times, human recreational beach going in late summer and early fall can be detrimental to shorebirds of multiple species as they undertake their long migrations to South America and the Caribbean. During this period of their lives, birds are trying to maximize energy intake to fuel the next leg in their journey, and disturbance from people, dogs, and vehicles may compromise their ability to do so. Other activities such as beach raking can also affect shorebirds by removing a valuable source of food. This presentation will provide an overview of these less familiar human-shorebird interactions, and discuss some of the solutions that have been proposed to address some of the more significant threats.
The population of endangered North Atlantic right whales is in decline. A large portion of these mortalities are the result of entanglements in fishing gear. New regulatory measures for fixed gear fisheries aimed at reducing the rate of serious injuries and mortalities due to entanglements are on the horizon. However, information gaps on how vertical lines are utilized in these fisheries have limited progress on defining appropriate management measures. We have formed a collaborative including the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, as well as industry associations, and a neutral third-party consulting firm. This collaborative is collecting data to establish a baseline of vertical line use in the lobster fishery by documenting vertical line fishing practices spatially through a survey, collecting used vertical lines to test the functional breaking strengths of those lines, and deploying load cells on fishing vessels to record the hauling strain on the vertical line. We will discuss an overview of the issue as well as project results to date with the goal of informing coastal stakeholders.