The effects of human induced habitat modifications on shorebirds and seabirds in Florida.
   Janell Brush, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Abstract: According to Wildlife 2060, the population of the coastal counties is predicted to double from 12.3 million to more than 26 million by 2060 (FWC 2008). More than half of Florida beaches are experiencing erosion problems. Some of this erosion is the result of natural forces; however most of the erosion is due to anthropogenic factors. This situation will be exacerbated in the near future by climate change. The culmination existing erosion and climate change will require an increase in management of coastal systems in the form of habitat modifications. The FWC Coastal Team has developed a list of management information needs within the beach/surf zone. One of the highest ranking identified information needs is to quantify the effects of human induced habitat modifications (e.g. raking, nourishment, armoring, dredge spoil deposition, etc.) on priority shorebird/seabird species. The successful overwintering and migration by shorebirds/seabirds depend heavily on habitat quality, availability, and resource base at refueling stops and on the wintering grounds. It is important to determine the limiting factors for these shorebird and seabird populations. Quantifying the effects of human induced habitat modification with site specific characteristics will inform management and policy makers of the real implications of the projects to shorebirds and seabirds. Understanding the relationship among habitat variables and shorebird/seabird use of the habitat establishes a quantifiable basis to define habitat quality for shorebirds and seabirds in Florida and how it is influenced by habitat modification. This information will provide a better foundation upon which to formulate management recommendations and inform policy. The proposed multi-species approach is the essence of ecosystem management and conservation, a focus of Florida’s CWCS. The findings of this project will support regional and statewide efforts to develop and implement FWC’s long-term integrated CWCS for monitoring, and determining the success of FWC efforts to conserve Florida’s avian diversity in beach/ surf zone. This information will used for the development and refinement of management plans for shorebird species. This project also is an opportunity for multiple partnerships for conservation of shorebird and seabird species in Florida.The project described herein is designed to determine the effect of beach modification projects on shorebirds and seabirds by examining the change in the distribution and habitat selection of shorebirds and seabirds and quantify the variables associated with the study locations. In addition to this information, we will incorporate historical information when relevant, about population size and distribution, review timing, scale and scope of management activities, and storm events to determine study locations. In addition to the historical information, new information will be collected, including occupancy of shorebirds and seabirds, habitat use, disturbance, site characteristics, and resource base.

Award Matching Funds Total
$181,353.00 $181,353.00 $362,706.00

Year Funded Starting Date Ending Date
2009 7/1/2009 8/1/2013

Location: Statewide