The Piping Plover is a “Threatened” species under both the state and federal Endangered Species Acts. As the Commonwealth’s population of the Piping Plover has begun to recover, due to intensive monitoring and management undertaken by municipalities and other beach operators in accordance with state and federal guidelines, increased management flexibility is needed to maintain and increase recreational opportunities while providing adequate protection for these vulnerable, ground-nesting birds.
To address these needs, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (MassWildlife) is working in partnership with a number of coastal towns, property owners and other stakeholders to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and obtain an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. The HCP would enable the MassWildlife, working with towns and other landowners, to improve public access and implement special conservation measures to benefit the Plovers, at appropriate sites where opportunities exist, thereby benefiting recreational users, managers, and the statewide population of Piping Plovers. CBI facilitated the first meeting of the Working Group in May 2014.
MassWildlife recognizes the uniqueness and importance of the Commonwealth’s beaches—for recreation, storm protection, and as natural areas and habitats. If this effort is successful, the statewide HCP will both advance recovery of the Piping Plover and provide greater flexibility to respond to management challenges as they present themselves on the Commonwealth’s beaches.