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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
May 9, 2005

Contact: Karen Hershey
(609) 984-1795


(05/56) TRENTON -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that various Delaware Bay beaches will be closed from May 14 to June 7 to protect a rapidly declining population of migrating shorebirds. These birds stop over each spring to feed on the fat-rich eggs of the horseshoe crab.

To protect the migratory shorebirds, DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell issued an emergency order in April 2003, which restricted the horseshoe crab harvest. Beach closures were also implemented to reduce disturbance to feeding shorebirds allowing them ample feeding time to gain the weight they need for a successful flight to their breeding ground in the Arctic.

"We are taking action now, like limiting disturbance to feeding shorebirds, to help prevent birds such as the state threatened Red Knot from becoming a federally endangered species in the future," said Director Martin McHugh, DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife.

DEP staff will limit access at portions of specific beaches in the Villas, Stone Harbor Point and Champagne Island, as well as portions of Fortescue Beach, Gandys Beach, High's Beach, Moores Beach, Reeds Beach, Cook's Beach, Kimbles Beach, Norbury's Landing/Sunray Beach, Pierces Point, High's Beach, Raybins Beach and Rutgers Cape Shore Lab beach. These are important shorebird feeding areas and limiting access will minimize human disturbance of the shorebirds while they feed.

The affected sections of beach in Lower, Middle and Downe townships will be closed for 25 days. The beach restrictions coincide with the new and full moons, when horseshoe crab spawning and shorebird feeding are at their peak.

The closed areas will be marked with printed signs and rope fencing from the street end to the water's edge. DEP staff and volunteers will be present at most beaches to educate the public about the interaction between the shorebirds and horseshoe crabs and the need to let the birds feed undisturbed.

Maps indicating the closed areas are available on DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife web site at:
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