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Martha's Vineyard Surfcasters
Martha's Vineyard
Surfcasters Association
P.O. Box 3053
Edgartown, MA 02539

Additional Trustees of Reservations information on Plover chick closures (Thanks to Chris Kennedy for this update!)

Jun 3

Written by:
6/3/2015 8:25 PM  RssIcon

We are coming up on the beginning of June and the plover and tern nesting situation at Norton Point and Chappy is coming into focus.  After this weekend, we are predicting several limited outer beach closures over the next week:

1.  At the Cape Poge Gut there is one nest of plovers hatching on Monday, June 1 followed by another plover nest hatching at the Gut on Thursday, June 4.  The tip of the Gut will be closed to vehicle access as of June 1.  Beginning in mid-June, we will staff the Gut 7 days/week with a ranger to prevent boat landing in the closed plover chick area.  This is a change from previous years.   We are finding that the burden of staying out of these areas with vehicles was not being reciprocated by boaters who land in amongst the chicks with dogs, volleyball nets and Frisbees.  While it may still occasionally happen, the job of the enforcement ranger at the Gut will be to direct boat traffic away from the plover chick areas.  We will work with the Edgartown Police Marine Patrol and the Sheriff's Department Marine Unit to assist with this enforcement.

2.  Directly opposite the Dike Bridge, we are anticipating the hatching of a two-egg plover nest on Wednesday, June 3.  As a precautionary measure, I am ordering the temporary closure of the outside beach, opposite the Dike Bridge to ensure that the new-born chicks are able to leave the dunes and feed on the outside beach.  It is my hope that the chicks will move far enough down Leland Beach to allow us to re-open the outside beach directly opposite the Dike Bridge.  The eventual movement and survival of these chicks will dictate what we can open. 

3.  At the Narrows on East Beach we have three plover nests which will begin hatching on June 4th and 5th.  We are hoping these chicks stay on the outside beach but if you recall, these chicks crossed over the barrier beach last summer to feed on the bay.  That actions forced the closure of all of Cape Poge for two weeks until they successfully fledged.  TTOR shorebird staff and rangers will be CLOSELY monitoring these chicks to determine their location over the next several weeks.  Also at the mid-way crossover on Leland we have two plover nests which will hatch on Sunday, June 7.  Expect further outside beach closures on the outside beach of Leland at the end of next week.  Again, the movement and survival of these chicks will dictate how much beach area we will be able to maintain at  Leland.  Vehicle drivers are also reminded that dogs are prohibited on the outside beach at Leland as they have been for the past several years.  Dogs in vehicles are allowed on the inside trails on Leland Beach for vehicles transiting the Leland property to gain access to Wasque and Norton Point. 

4.  Most surprising of all is the lack of successful plover nests at Wasque and Norton Point.  At present there are no nesting plovers on either property.  As well, Common, Least and Roseate terns are looking at Norton Point Beach for potential nests but none have nested so far.  We expect that to change within the next week or two.  American Oystercatcher chicks can be expected to appear at Norton Point over the next few weeks.  While these chicks are not afforded the same level of protection as terns and plovers, we ask all drivers to be on the lookout for Oystercatcher chicks which can wander into OSV trails.  Slow and steady is the best way to access the outer beaches on Martha's Vineyard.

After much discussion, The Trustees of Reservations will not change its policies and regulations regarding dogs at Norton Point or Chappy.  Thus, dogs are allowed but they must be on leashes.  Rangers are being directed to actively enforce the dog leash laws and may ask offenders to leave the property immediately and may in certain situations void the OSV permits of offenders.  In such cases permits will not be reissued to the vehicle owner for 12 months.

I will be sending weekly reports on beach access issues to you with the hope that you will pass along this information to family and friends as you see fit.

Any questions at all, please let me know.

All the best,
Chris Kennedy

Christopher Kennedy
Martha’s Vineyard Superintendent
The Trustees of Reservations
23 Pocha Road Ext
Edgartown, MA   02539
508-627-3659 (fax)

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