Monitoring the impacts of visitors to shorebird populations in the Coastal and Barrier Island Network areas

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Proceedings of the 2004 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium

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The impacts of recreationists on wildlife are a growing concern in protected natural areas around the world. In the NE Coastal and Barrier Island Network areas managed by the National Park Service (NPS), the effect of ever increasing visitor numbers on beach nesting shorebirds such as the piping plover is an ongoing management concern. Currently, these NPS areas conduct counts of shorebird species and numbers, but do not monitor other important trends such as visitor-wildlife interactions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate established procedures for the assessing the type and frequency of human disturbance to shorebirds and to determine the applicability of these procedures to monitoring trends of impact in the Coastal Network. Based on a literature review of disturbance studies, and a preliminary field assessment, the monitoring variables of pre and post disturbance behavior, visitor activity type and number of visitors are suggested for future field testing.

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