May 25, 2018

MDIFW NEWS -- Department To Host Informational Meeting Concerning Endangered Piping Plover And Least Tern Management Activities on Popham and Scarborough Beaches

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2018

IFW To Host Informational Meeting Concerning Endangered Piping Plover And Least Tern Management Activities on Popham and Scarborough Beaches

AUGUSTA, Maine – Next week, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is holding two public informational meeting regarding Piping Plover and Least Tern management activities planned for the 2018 nesting season.

The first meeting will be held at the Bath City Hall on Wednesday, May 30 at 7:00 pm and on Thursday, the meeting will be held at the Scarborough Municipal Office on May 31 at 7:00 pm.

Both piping plovers and least terns are on the state endangered species list. Once down to only seven nesting pairs in the state, piping plovers rebounded to 64 nesting pairs in 2017. Least terns nesting pair numbers dropped to 39 in 1982 but have slowly climbed to over 200 nesting pairs statewide. Habitat loss and lack of undisturbed nest sites are two of the primary factors jeopardizing populations of piping plovers and least terns. Protection of nesting sites and plover and tern chicks are one of the keys to fledgling success.

Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands beaches support 20% of Maine’s nesting population of Piping Plovers. Least Terns nest at only 4 sites in Maine, including Popham Beach. In 2017, Popham Beach had 6 pairs of nesting Piping Plovers, however the plovers were unsuccessful most likely because of impacts from beachgoers, predators, and/or environmental conditions.

In order to increase nesting and fledgling success, IFW and its partners protect nesting sites by installing temporary fencing directly around the nesting site. Nests are also monitored by staff and volunteers, keeping people and pets away from the nesting sites. IFW also oversees a predator management program on the beach that removes foxes, raccoons, skunks and other predators through regulated trapping.

Predator management at Popham in 2015 and 2016 was conducted throughout the nesting season beginning in May and continued through August when the last piping plover brood had fledged. Predator management was not conducted in 2017 and may have contributed to the nesting failure.

Over the past 10 years, this predation management program has helped reverse a population decline and subsequently rebuild Maine’s piping plover and least tern populations. Productivity rates (number of fledglings per nesting pair) on beaches with predator management have substantially surpassed the productivity rates on beaches where no predation management was conducted. Beaches with predator management have an average 2.05 productivity rate as compared to beaches without predation management that have an average of 1.51 productivity rate (during 2007 – 2016). Predator management efforts have contributed to a statewide increase in nesting plover pairs from 24 pairs in 2008 to 64 pairs in 2017.

To hear more about Maine’s Piping Plovers and Least Terns and our efforts to protect and sustain these Endangered Species please join us at either meeting.

For more information please contact:

Brad Zitske Wildlife Biologist Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife 207 657-2345 Brad.Zitske@maine.gov

Lindsay Tudor Shorebird biologist Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife 207-941-4479 Lindsay.Tudor@maine.gov

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