Plover Return Pressures Westerly Beach Sand Replacement

Feb 22, 2013

Atlantic Avenue in Westerly, with Misquamicut Beach to the right.
Credit RI Department of Transportation

The town of Westerly continues to work with State and Federal agencies to replace beach sand by the April 1st deadline. Winter storms have delayed the process of dune reconstruction, and now the CRMC is working with the town to provide expedited permits for property owners who want to replace the sand on their beach-front properties.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service requires the sand to be replaced before threatened piping plovers arrive for the spring to nest. Laura Dwyer, Public Educator and Information Coordinator for the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management council, said that if a plover were to nest this spring on the sand pile, currently stored at a beachside parking lot, the sand pile could not be moved until after the plover chicks were fully grown.

“We’re coordinating and working very closely with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and FEMA trying to just strike that balance of restoring dunes and letting people do that, while also making sure that we are helping to protect plover habitat because obviously that is very important.”

The overwash sand that coated Westerly following Superstorm Sandy has been collected, sifted, and stored at the Misquamicut State Beach parking lot.

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