Bird’s-eye-view reveals priority habitat for threatened shorebirds

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

As the national lead biologist for the recovery of the threatened red knot, and the Service’s state lead (N.J.) for threatened piping plover, Wendy Walsh thinks a lot about managing the impact people can have on the habitat these species depend upon: sandy beaches and tidal inlets.

Wendy-Walsh-FWS.JPG A new inventory of modifications to beach and tidal inlet habitat from Maine to Virginia has given Wendy Walsh — the Service’s lead biologist for the recovery of the threatened red knot — new perspective on habitat availability for shorebirds. Credit: FWS

During Hurricane Sandy, barrier beaches overwashed around Little Egg Inlet, an opening into Great Bay in the wilderness portion of  Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. And that turned out to be a good thing for plover. “It created great habitat,” Walsh said. “Plover numbers really increased.”

Did they ever.

Today, Walsh said, “Beaches around Little Egg Inlet provide habitat for…

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