Recovery of the Great Lakes piping plover population: a progress report

TitleRecovery of the Great Lakes piping plover population: a progress report
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsCuthbert FJean, Wemmer LChristine
EditorHiggins K.F, Brashier M.R, Kruse C.D
Book TitleProceedings, Piping Plovers and Least Terns of the Great Plains and Nearby, pp. .
PublisherSouth Dakota State University
CityBrookings, SD

The Great Lakes population of the piping plover was given federal endangered status in 1986 and the recovery plan was approved in 1988. A decade has passed since approval of the plan, and significant effort has been directed at recovery of this population. This paper reviews the priority action tasks, summarizes progress made towards recovery, and identifies important directions for future recovery efforts. While benefits have been recorded for Great Lakes piping plovers, the number of breeding pairs is still precariously low despite doubling from 12 pairs (1990) to 23 (1997). Most priority tasks have been addressed extensively or in part. The most serious weakness occurs for tasks associated with winter ecology and conservation. Lack of knowledge about where Great Lakes birds spend the winter has limited progress. Recent banding data are providing important details on the winter range, and more effort on winter issues is now possible. In the breeding range, priority tasks needing urgent completion include identification and protection of essential habitat and assessment of adequacy of habitat to allow recovery to 150 pairs. For recovery goals to be met, all tasks that contribute to interagency communication, public education, and stakeholder cooperation must be pursued with continued commitment.