Topic: sand moving project at the point

Will the sand dredging project at Cape May Point SP affect the bird life there?

Re: sand moving project at the point

The sand moving is likely to positively impact birds, especially nesting Least Terns and Piping Plovers.  Those species nest along the strip between the Park and Cape May beachfront.  Their nesting areas had pretty much washed away over the years and they will now have more beach to nest on.

Re: sand moving project at the point

Certainly in the long term more beach = more habitat, but I can't help but wonder what's happening to the undersand ecosystem - birds don't just nest on the beach, but they also eat there!  Surely the undersand guild of creatures is better adapted to recover quickly than those of many other ecosystems - a necessity in such a changeable environment - but I imagine that there will be less food to glean from the sand in 2005 than in other recent years.  It will be interesting to watch.

Re: sand moving project at the point

The sand infauna that beach birds feed upon generally recolonizes quickly.  I imagine it depends on when the sand moving stops and whether there will be time for recolonization.  Any reduction might impact plovers, but terns would not likely be impacted (because they eat fish).  The erosion of beach has really impacted plovers and terns along the shore, as well as skimmers in other places, so the long-term survival of these birds likely is enhanced by the beach building (if the beach stays).  While I'm not a fan of spending lots of money on beach replenishment, the alternatives are uglier - we'd lose the terns and plovers off South Cape May and we might lose the Park and the Nature Conservancy lands as well.  Do we have a choice?