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Contact: Daphne Yun, 718-815-3651
Contact: Brenda Ling, 718-815-3652
Highlands, N.J. – A piping plover nest was discovered at Sandy Hook’s Beach E the week of June 3. This location has traditionally been used for the Sandy Hook Foundation’s summer beach concert series. However, noise disturbs piping plovers, a federally-protected shore bird. US Fish and Wildlife Service mandates that no activity such as concerts take place within 1000 meters of the nest. In order to fulfill the park’s legal obligations and give the birds the greatest chance possible at nesting success, this year’s concert series has been cancelled.
“We want these special birds to thrive,” said Gateway Superintendent Jen Nersesian. “The park did try to find an alternative location, but could not identify anything that meets the Foundation’s needs or the spirit of what this program has become. We are disappointed right alongside our visitors, but appreciate everyone’s support in helping to save a species on the brink.”
All along the Atlantic coast there are fewer than 3000 nesting pairs of plovers. This year, piping plovers have built more than 20 nests on Sandy Hook’s beaches. Over the last 10 years Sandy Hook has consistently supported 40-50 % of the N.J. nesting plover pairs. Of the 145 chicks that fledged in NJ in 2018, 59 were from Sandy Hook nests.
About Gateway National Recreation Area
Gateway is a large diverse urban park with 27,000 acres spanning Sandy Hook in N.J. and Jamaica Bay and Staten Island in N.Y. It offers green spaces, beaches, wildlife and outdoor recreation, all alongside historic structures and cultural landscapes. It is the 4th most visited National Park Service unit with more than 9.2 million annual visitors. For more information about Gateway, visit www.nps.gov/gate.
A joint statement from the Sandy Hook Foundation and Gateway National Recreation Area, National Park Service
The Sandy Hook 2019 Summer Concert Series has been cancelled. This is due to the needed protection of Piping Plovers, a threatened and federally-protected shorebird. The plovers have been building nests and laying eggs along most of Sandy Hook’s beaches
Noise scares the birds so much they can’t focus on what they flew here to do: live on Sandy Hook for a couple of months, then move on. This year, they have built more than 20 nests on the location that the Sandy Hook Foundation can use for its concerts.
All along the Atlantic shore from the Carolinas to New Jersey beaches, there are fewer than 3,000 nesting pairs of these special birds. We want them to thrive and lose the moniker of being threatened.
The National Park Service and the Sandy Hook Foundation want to help these shorebirds survive.
That means this year, free beach concerts that have been a hallmark of summer on the North Jersey shore, will not be offered. We hope you understand, and will continue to support efforts of the Sandy Hook Foundation and Gateway National Recreation Area’s efforts to preserving and protecting the national treasure that is Sandy Hook.
Last updated: June 13, 2019