DEP CLOSES SECTIONS OF BAY AND OCEAN BEACHES
TO PROTECT RARE MIGRATORY SHOREBIRDS
(06/37) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental
Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced the temporary
closure of several beaches both on the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic
Ocean to protect critical feeding and resting areas for threatened
and endangered migratory shorebirds.
Effective immediately, certain sections of Delaware Bay beaches
will be closed through June 7 to allow populations of shorebirds,
particularly the rapidly declining red knot, to feed undisturbed.
Every year, the red knots, a threatened species, stop on bay beaches
to feed on the fat-rich eggs of the horseshoe crab and gain the
weight they need to successfully complete their migration to breeding
grounds in the Arctic. Various beaches have been closed seasonally
Closings on the Delaware Bay affect Gandys Beach, Fortescue Beach
and Raybins Beach, all in Downe Township; Moores Beach in Maurice
River Township; Reeds Beach, Kimbles Beach, Pierces Point, Rutgers
Beach, Norburys Landing, Cooks Beach, Highs Beach and Sunray Beach,
all in Middle Township; and Villas Beach in Lower Township.
On the Atlantic Ocean, the northeast end of the Malibu Beach Wildlife
Management Area in Egg Harbor Township and Stone Harbor Point/Champagne
Island in Stone Harbor Borough/Middle Township, located on Ocean
Drive west of Longport, is closed to all access now through Oct.
The beach and sod banks at the northwest end of the Wildlife Management
Area are critical habitats for other rare shorebirds, including
the piping plover, a federally endangered species, and the American
The southwest end of the Malibu Beach Wildlife Management Area
will remain open to the public. Dogs will be permitted at the southwest
end provided they are leashed and under control at all times. People
who walk their dogs on this section of beach must clean up after
their pets Access and parking are available at the southwest end
of the WMA at the Cape May County-operated parking area adjacent
to the fishing pier along Ocean Drive.
The closed areas of the beaches will be marked with printed signs
and roped off from the end of the street to the water’s edge.
DEP staff and volunteers will be on hand at most beaches to help
the public learn more about shorebirds, horseshoe crabs and the
importance of enabling the birds to feed undisturbed. Maps depicting
the closed areas are available on the DEP's Division of Fish and
Wildlife Web site at: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/ensp/beachcloz06map.htm.