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Shorebird Monitoring Begins for Captiva Beach Project

August 11, 2021

SCCF’s Coastal Wildlife department is conducting shorebird surveys for the upcoming Captiva Erosion Prevention District beach renourishment project. State and federal permits require the contractors to meet certain shorebird requirements. Because it is still nesting season, daily surveys of the work area must be conducted to confirm there are no nesting birds. Staff conducting these surveys are approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, so only experienced monitors will be tasked for this project. Daily surveys begin 10 days prior to the start of construction and continue through the end of nesting season on August 31.

In addition to these nesting surveys, staff must conduct twice-monthly surveys of the whole island for threatened species, including red knots (Calidris canutus) pictured here and piping plovers (Charadrius melodus). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion for this project requires surveys for one full migration period (July 15 to May 15) for both species prior to the project, and for two years following each sand replacement event. For these surveys, staff must record a lot of data, including date, location, weather, tide, and disturbances, such as the number of vehicles on the beach. All shorebird species on the beach are counted, and for each observation of the target species, additional information is recorded including number of individuals, band combinations, behavior, and habitat features. 

Construction for this project is set to begin as fall shorebird migration is starting to pick up and nesting season is coming to its end. Captiva Island is an important migratory stopover and wintering habitat for many species of shorebirds and seabirds, so SCCF will closely monitor the impacts of this project on all resident and migratory coastal birds. 

Pictured below are red Knots in front of sand placement equipment during the 2017 Blind Pass Dredging project.


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