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Hurricane Sandy may prove to be a blessing for the tiny piping plover


New inlet This new inlet created by Hurricane Sandy on Long Island is expected to produce improved habitat for the piping plover.

May 15, 2014 – As it left a path of destruction on Eastern U.S. shorelines, Hurricane Sandy created three inlets on Long Island’s south shore, two of which have since been filled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Professor Jim Fraser hopes the third inlet, located in a designated wilderness area of Fire Island National Seashore, will remain open. The area, New York’s only natural inlet, is shaping up to be an ideal habitat for the federally threatened piping plover.

“Storm-created habitat is good for piping plovers and other birds,” explained Fraser. Other positive environmental impacts have been observed as well. “Local people say the fishing is better, clams are growing faster, and the water is cleaner.”

Fraser’s work studying these shorebirds confirms that plover populations increase when new habitat is created on barrier islands after massive storms. His ongoing research is monitoring the outcome, and he expects to see plover populations on Long Island surge when the birds return in the spring.

Read the full press release.


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