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E-M:/ Piping Plover Public Alert



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Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region


NEWS RELEASE
_____________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 1999
EA 99-21
Contact:
Rachel Miller, (517) 351-6320
rachel_miller@fws.gov

Chuck Traxler, (612) 713-5313
Charles_Traxler@fws.gov


THE GREAT LAKES' MOST ENDANGERED BIRD NEEDS YOUR HELP


A partnership including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National
Park Service, the Bad River Tribe, and the Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and
Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources are asking for public assistance
in the protection of the federally endangered piping plover.

Piping plovers are small, sand colored, ground nesting shorebirds found
along the beaches of the Great Lakes.  You may encounter piping plover eggs
or the small, fuzzy, flightless chicks that will be hatching soon when you
visit Great Lakes' beaches.  Once hatched, plover chicks will hop and run
along the shore searching for food.  Eggs and the flightless chicks are
extremely vulnerable to dogs and  beach walkers who may accidently step on
them.  The agencies ask that while you are out enjoying the natural
environment, please take a few precautions to ensure you do not cause damage
to this native Great Lakes' species.

You can help assure the recovery of this native bird by complying with signs
that close areas to certain activities, volunteering with local programs,
learning
more about how you can help protect piping plovers in your area, and simply
being aware of how your actions affect the environment.

Piping plovers once nested on the wide beaches of sand and cobble located
throughout the Great Lakes area.  However, due to increased development and
loss of habitat, the species is now limited to the more undisturbed
shoreline areas of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio.

Thanks to recent efforts, piping plovers appear to be increasing their
numbers and range.  In 1998, the number of piping plover nesting pairs
increased from 23
to 24.  This is up from an all-time low of 12 nesting pairs in 1990.  Also
in 19
98, a pair of plovers nested along Lake Superior in Wisconsin, near the
Apostle
Island National Lakeshore, for the first time in 15 years.

Although the population has been increasing since 1990, the number of Great
Lakes piping plovers is still critically low.  Full recovery of the plover
is far from being achieved.  Many more breeding pairs need to be established
throughout the Great Lakes area before their population can be considered
stable.  It will take the continuing efforts of volunteers, agencies, and
especially the public, to ensure the survival of the most endangered Great
Lakes' bird.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency
responsible f
or conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their
habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service
manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprising more
than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other
special management areas. It
also operates 66 national fish hatcheries and 78 Ecological Services field
offices.  The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the
Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores
nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat
such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation
efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds
of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to
state wildlife agencies.  For more information about endangered species and
other programs managed by the Service, please visit our web site at:
http://www.fws.gov/r3pao/

Specific information on the piping plover can be found at:
http://www.fws.gov/r3pao/eco_serv/endangrd/birds/pipingpl.html

Information about volunteering to help the plovers can be found at:
http://www.fws.gov/r3pao/eco_serv/endangrd/birds/volunter.html


-FWS-

Department of the Interior
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Bldg.
1 Federal Drive, Ft. Snelling, MN 55111
Contact External Affairs:
Telephone (612) 713-5360
TDD (612) 713-5318
Fax: (612) 713-5280
E-mail: r3_pao@mail.fws.gov





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