Piping Plover and Shoreline Protection Progam
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
This team reached out to private landowners as well as local planning and zoning boards to promote and better secure the protection of critical near-shore habitat on private lands. The team’s landowner guide for shoreline habitat protection and shoreline habitat protection ordinance draft led to several local governments incorporating this language and adopting shoreline protection regulations. Identification of sensitive land and follow-up outreach work in Emmet, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, and Mackinac Counties meant the protection of more than 5 miles of critical shoreline and 1200 acres of high priority property through conservation easements.
Partly as a result of the team’s extensive monitoring, outreach and protection efforts, the piping plover population increased from 32 to 51 pairs between 2001 and 2002—a 59% increase. Team members also secured the option to purchase St. Helena Island (260 acres) with 3 miles of shoreline.
This type of work—inviting landowners and city planners to be partners in conservation with researchers and non-profits—will maintain its importance as a central factor in moving conservation work forward.