• Piping plover. photo: Scott Hecker

    Protection and Restoration of Piping Plover Habitat in the Bahamas Archipelago

  • Wilson Plover nest. photo: Scott Hecker

    Protection and Restoration of Piping Plover Habitat in the Bahamas Archipelago

  • photo: Scott Hecker

    Protection and Restoration of Piping Plover Habitat in the Bahamas Archipelago

In Brief

Location:

The Bahamas Archipelago, Bahamas

Goal:

Protect and restore coastal beach habitat for migratory Piping Plovers and migratory and breeding beach-nesting birds.

Threats:

Over 1,000 Piping Plovers winter throughout the Bahamas Archipelago. They share these coastal habitats with several species of resident beach-nesting birds. Two key threats face piping plovers and other beach-using birds: human disturbance and habitat-destroying invasive Australian pine. ICFC's field partner, Conservian, conducted aerial surveys to identify priority sites and developed a plan of action beginning in 2016.

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Actions & Results:

Underway now is the first on-the-ground protective/restorative measures program in the Bahamas to limit human-caused disturbance and control Australian pine at key Piping Plover/shorebird/seabird sites.

Cost:

2016 budget amount: US$20,000

We gratefully acknowledge support for this project from the Nature Conservancy of Canada, which protects piping plovers at various sites across Canada.

In More Depth...

Project Partners and Personnel

Our partner Conservian Coastal Bird Conservation with project leader Zdravkovic. For this project, Conservian is working wiith volunteers, the Bahamas National Trust, and BirdsCaribbean.

Field crew, 2016

Background

Most of Bahamas shorebird habitat remains unmonitored and unprotected from human-caused disturbance due to lack of resources and funding. There is an urgent need to begin monitoring, protection and restorative actions for shorebirds as these imperiled species are enduring ever-increasing, human-caused disturbance and habitat loss. Invasive Australian pine is also of particular concern in the Bahamas and is present on the majority of the islands. The pine destabilizes coastlines and is highly destructive to native beach habitat and beach-dependent species.

Actions
  • Biologists and volunteer crew travel to key sites aboard a 75-ft research schooner and work with the Bahamas National Trust, BirdsCaribbean, local partners, and volunteers. Targeted sites include national parks and Important Bird Areas of the Bahamas.
  • Signage is erected to designate restricted shorebird areas and address site-specific issues such as pets, vehicles, boat landings, prohibited mechanical beach-raking and cleaning practices, and limits on the use of beach furniture.
  • Australian pine is being eradicated though girdling and application of a herbicide.
  • Data is collected on beach-nesting bird abundance, distribution, habitat use, and human-caused disturbance.

The Project will increase local capacity for coastal stewardship with hands-on conservation actions.

This year's efforts can be repeated in other locations in subsequent years until both human disturbance and the invasive Australian pine are under control at all key areas of shoreline in the Bahamas.

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