DELAWARE BAY BEACHES TO PROTECT MIGRATORY SHOREBIRDS
(05/56) TRENTON -- The Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) today announced that various Delaware Bay beaches will be
closed from May 14 to June 7 to protect a rapidly declining population
of migrating shorebirds. These birds stop over each spring to
feed on the fat-rich eggs of the horseshoe crab.
To protect the migratory shorebirds, DEP Commissioner Bradley
M. Campbell issued an emergency order in April 2003, which restricted
the horseshoe crab harvest. Beach closures were also implemented
to reduce disturbance to feeding shorebirds allowing them ample
feeding time to gain the weight they need for a successful flight
to their breeding ground in the Arctic.
"We are taking action now, like limiting disturbance to
feeding shorebirds, to help prevent birds such as the state threatened
Red Knot from becoming a federally endangered species in the future,"
said Director Martin McHugh, DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife.
DEP staff will limit access at portions of specific beaches in
the Villas, Stone Harbor Point and Champagne Island, as well as
portions of Fortescue Beach, Gandys Beach, High's Beach, Moores
Beach, Reeds Beach, Cook's Beach, Kimbles Beach, Norbury's Landing/Sunray
Beach, Pierces Point, High's Beach, Raybins Beach and Rutgers
Cape Shore Lab beach. These are important shorebird feeding areas
and limiting access will minimize human disturbance of the shorebirds
while they feed.
The affected sections of beach in Lower, Middle and Downe townships
will be closed for 25 days. The beach restrictions coincide with
the new and full moons, when horseshoe crab spawning and shorebird
feeding are at their peak.
The closed areas will be marked with printed signs and rope fencing
from the street end to the water's edge. DEP staff and volunteers
will be present at most beaches to educate the public about the
interaction between the shorebirds and horseshoe crabs and the
need to let the birds feed undisturbed.
Maps indicating the closed areas are available on DEP's Division
of Fish and Wildlife web site at: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/ensp/beachcloz05map.htm