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No. That would be a “take.”
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The Endangered Species Act is a federal law that prohibits a “take” of endangered or threatened species. The term “take” means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct, and carries with it a civil penalty of $25,000.
The NYSDEC has regulations (6 NYCRR Part 182) that mirror the Endangered Species Act, including the definition of a “take.”
The Trustees’ Endangered Species Monitoring Program follows USFW Guidelines in order to protect these threatened or endangered species, which in turn protects the Trustees’ easement over the beach and all of the Town’s residents and freeholders from the liability of a “take.”
There were 3 nest locations, 2 inside the Picnic Area and 1 located 400m outside the Picnic Area. The beach is not closed to 4 x 4 access until 3-5 days before the nest hatches.
USFW and the DEC consider using fencing to control or direct the movement of the animals as actions that constitute a “take.”
A Shuttle will be run by the Village of Southampton from the Parking Lot to the beach. Negotiated with NYSDEC and USFWS a monitor is present at all times 10am-6pm Saturday and Sunday only.
Oceanfront homeowners have the right to access the beach from their property. Pathways are laid out to direct homeowner beach access away from any nests in that specific area.
After the birds hatch, our program and monitors allow us to observe the birds’ behavior and movement in a specific location which then the 1000m may be reduced. 200m is the minimum and is only allowed with constant monitoring of the Brood.
There was one nest at Ponquogue that hatched in May.
This year’s numbers can be compared to previous years once the endangered season is over. The number that the Trustees look for is the number of fledged chicks throughout the Town. The number of nests fluctuates greatly throughout the season from predation, storms, and other loss and re-nesting.
There have been nests at all of those locations in the past. Human activity may deter the birds from nesting in areas that are highly used, so nests at these locations are uncommon but they do happen. For example, there was a next at the Ponquogue Pavilion this year.
The Trustee are going to open additional access for the daytime drive-on area at Cold Spring by extending the day time driving area from 300 ft. to 2000 ft east of Cold Spring Rd. Permit holders who have both a Trustees and Village 4x4 permit will be able to use the Trustee’s Lake Agawam Parking Lot.
The Board of Trustees are elected by the community to oversee the beach and facilitate the U.S. Threatened and Endangered Species Program.
No, giving active nest locations may promote vandalism to the nests
The entire beach is not closed. The closure only applies to 4x4 driving in areas where there are chicks. The Trustees’ monitoring program allows us to monitor the movement of the chicks and their behavior so that we can leave areas certain open to 4x4 access and where possible reduce the 1000m buffer.
Cages can be used to protect nests from predators, but cannot be used to protect the chicks because they are highly mobile after hatching.
This is the first time there have been plover nests in the picnic area in at least 5 years.
The beach closure map is online and is updated daily.