Audubon Of Florida’s Gulf Coast Ecosystem / Florida .

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Audubon of Florida’sGulf Coast Ecosystem / Florida CoastalIslands Sanctuaries ProgramPartnerships for ColonialWaterbird Management andConservation Policy Initiatives

Program Overviewzz2Gulf Coast Ecosystem / Florida Coastal Islands SanctuariesProgram– Manage thirty species of colonial waterbirds nesting onFlorida’s Gulf Coast and historic Palm Beach Countysanctuaries.– Approximately 100,000 birds / 50,000 pairs, the highestdiversity of these species in Florida.– Nesting colony protection is critical for successfulreproduction.– Post, monitor, survey, manage, & patrol 115 local colonies &coordinate with colony management agencies & volunteers.Annual Program Activities– Nesting protection: spring & summer nesting season Posting, planning, coordination.– Comprehensive colony protection & project management,restoration projects – throughout year.– Conservation and policy initiatives – throughout year.

Audubon of Florida’s Florida Coastal IslandsSanctuaries Program Research StaffAnn Hodgson, Ph. D.Gulf Coast EcosystemScience Coordinator /Sanctuary ManagerPrincipal InvestigatorRob Heath, M. S.Spoonbill Technician /Volunteer CoordinatorResearch Associate3Ann Paul, M. S.Tampa BayRegional CoordinatorKey PersonnelMark Rachal, M. S.Field BiologistResearch AssociateCarol CasselsSeasonal Warden

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Region – Levy County toCharlotte County, 350 miles of the Florida GulfCoast.4

Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries Program hasconducted colonial waterbird research for 75 yearsthroughout Florida.zzzBased in Tampa,Florida75 years of colonialwaterbird and beachnesting bird protectionon the Gulf Coast andeast coast of FloridaNational/internationalresearch publicationszzIBA publicationsynthesized FCISPresearch findingsFCISP conductsscientific research toestablish wise useprograms for y

Conservation Issue Leadershipzz6Florida Coastal IslandsSanctuaries Programprovides science-basedresearch for conservationpolicy development.We work with government,public and private partnersto establish viableconservation strategiesstatewide.

FCISP Field Research Professional sciencestaff Conduct terrestrial andaquatic researchprograms7

Partnerszzzzzzzz8All Gulf Coast EcosystemAudubon SocietiesUS Fish & Wildlife ServiceFlorida Fish & WildlifeConservation CommissionFlorida Department ofEnvironmental ProtectionAquatic PreservesCounty Environmental LandsPrograms and ParksDepartmentsTampa Bay Estuary ProgramSarasota Bay Estuary ProgramCharlotte Harbor EstuaryProgramzFlorida Parks DepartmentCities (Clearwater, St.Petersburg, Safety Harbor,Belleair Beach, TreasureIsland, Tampa, Sarasota, etc.)Tampa and Clearwater MarineAquariaSouthwest Florida WaterManagement DistrictTampa Port AuthorityManatee County Port AuthorityzOther cooperatorszzzzz

Florida’s Colonially Nesting andBeach-nesting Species9SpeciesFWC Listing*Brown PelicanSSCWatchList SpeciesFWC Listing*White IbisSSCDouble-crested CormorantGlossy IbisAnhingaRoseate SpoonbillSSCLeast BitternWood StorkEGreat Blue HeronSnowy PloverTGreat EgretWilson’s PloverSnowy EgretSSCAmerican OystercatcherLittle Blue HeronSSCWilletTricolored HeronSSCLaughing GullReddish EgretSSCWLWatchList WLSSCWLGull-billed TernCattle EgretCaspian TernGreen HeronRoyal TernBlack-crowned Night-HeronSandwich TernYellow-crowned Night-HeronLeast TernTBlack SkimmerSSC*Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission: E Endangered, T Threatened, SSC Species of SpecialConcern; Partners in Flight “WatchList” species

Implementationzzz10Species Management: Post, patroland monitor coloniesEnvironmental Education/Outreach: trainingworkshops for agency staff & volunteers, data oneach colony to agency biological staff, enhance publicawareness of colonies & volunteer participation,distribute boater’s guides, colony literature/informationHabitat & Ecosystem management: remove nonnative invasive plants from colonies, stabilizeshorelines, conduct entangling line cleanups, removemammalian predators

Pinellas County coastline and TampaBay11

Pinellas County Coastal Bird Colonies12

Beach-nesting Birds Nesting Schedulefor the Tampa Bay RegionSpeciesState Listing StatusOnset Of NestingIncubationHatch DateDaysSnowy PloverTFledge DateDaysApril 1-May 3026-32April 27-July 228-32May 25-Aug 4April 1-May 3023-25April 24-June 2521May 15-July 16March 20-May 3024-28April 13-June 2735May 18-Aug 2WilletMarch 25-May 3022-29April 16-June 2828May 14-Aug 3Laughing GullMay 7-May 3020May 27-June 2035July 1-July 25Caspian TernMay 7-May 3020-22May 27-June 2230-35June 26-July 27Royal TernMay 1-May 1528-35May 29-June 1928-35June 26-July 24Sandwich TernMay 5-May 1521-29May 26-June 1328-32May 23-July 15Gull-billed TernMay 7-May 3022-23May 29-June 2228-35June 26-July 26May 1-May 3020-25May 21-June 2419-20June 9-July 14May 10 to June 3021-23May 31-July 2323-25June 23-Aug 17Wilson’s PloverAmerican OystercatcherLeast TernBlack Skimmer13Age At First FlightSSCTSSCSnowy Plovers – early nesting in February supports protection from February 15.

Breeding colonial waterbird species of the Tampa Bay system,1994-2006: Annual population estimates (breeding pairs) byspecies (John’s Pass south to Egmont Key).20000Brown PelicanDouble-crested Cormorant18000AnhingaGreat Blue HeronGreat Egret16000Snowy EgretLittle Blue HeronTricolored Heron14000Reddish EgretCattle EgretGreen HeronPairs/Nests12000Black-crowned Night-HeronYellow-crowned Night-HeronWhite Ibis10000Glossy IbisRoseate SpoonbillWood StorkSnowy Plover8000Wilson's PloverAmerican OystercatcherBlack-necked Stilt6000WilletLaughing GullGull-billed Tern4000Caspian TernRoyal TernSandwich Tern2000Least TernBlack 2003200420052006

Breeding birds of the Tampa Bay system, 1994-2006: Totalannual population estimates (breeding 3200420052006

American Oystercatcher Research16

Adult AMOY are regularly disturbed by recreationalboatersAdult AMOY drivenoff the nest by aboater17

AMOY survey results 2006Colony NameCross Florida Barge Canal IslandsAnclote BarAnclote River Mouth Spoil IslandSouth Anclote BarThree Rooker IslandSt. Joseph Sound Marker 28St. Joseph Sound Marker 26Ozona Spoil EastClearwater Harbor I-25Belleair Beach Bird IslandIndian Rocks Beach Bird IslandDarling Key, Marker 20, Boca Ciega BayLittle Bird Key NWREgmont Key NWR & State ParkTampa Port Authority Spoil Island 2DAlafia Bank Bird ColonyTampa Port Authority Spoil Island 3DApollo Beach & Fishhook SpoilPassage Key NWRPort Manatee KeySkiers IslandPelican Cove PointLittle Sarasota Bay Marker 34Blackburn Bay Marker 20Total18Pairs/NestsAMOY SNPL y RegionCountyGulf of MexicoSt. Joseph SoundAnclote RiverSt. Joseph SoundSt. Joseph SoundSt. Joseph SoundSt. Joseph SoundSt. Joseph SoundClearwater HarborClearwater HarborClearwater HarborBoca Ciega BayBoca Ciega BayTampa Bay mouthHillsborough BayHillsborough BayHillsborough BayHillsborough BayTampa Bay mouthEast Tampa BaySarasota BaySarasota BaySarasota BaySarasota sotaSarasota

AMOY, WIPL, SNPL breeding census1994-2006, Tampa Bay, FL180160140120Snowy Pl overWi l son's Pl overAmer i can Oyster catcher100Bl ack-necked Sti l tWi l l et80Gul l -bi l l ed Ter nCaspi an Ter n60Least Ter 0420052006

Anclote River, St. Joseph Sound &Clearwater Harbor20

Clearwater Harbor ICWW – smallmangrove and dredge material islands.I-25 sanctuary21Eroding ICWW island

Typical shorebird roosting and foraging habitats –small mangrove islets, oyster bars, and mudflats.22

White Ibis nesting in seagrapes (Cocoloba uvifera)at 3 Rooker Island, Pinellas County, FL.23

Green Heron nests low in mangroves – nests arevulnerable to disturbance from fishing and smallwatercraft recreation.24

Total Pairs Breeding census 2003-2006,Clearwater, FL80007000Nesting 06

Breeding census 2003-2006,Clearwater, FLBrown Pelican6000Double- Crested CormorantGreat Blue Heron5000LaughingGull4000Nesting PairsGreat EgretSnowy EgretLittle Blue HeronTricolored HeronReddish Egret3000Cattle EgretGreen Heron2000Black-crowned Night HeronYellow-crowned Night HeronWhite Ibis1000Roseate SpoonbillSnowy Plover0200320042005Year262006Wilson's PloverAmerican OystercatcherWillet

Breeding census 2003-2006,Clearwater, FL700Black Skimmerdecline600Brown PelicanDouble- Crested CormorantGreat Blue HeronGreat EgretSnowy EgretLittle Blue HeronTricolored HeronReddish EgretCattle EgretGreen HeronBlack-crowned Night HeronYellow-crowned Night HeronWhite IbisRoseate SpoonbillSnowy PloverWilson's PloverAmerican OystercatcherWilletCaspian TernRoyal TernSandwich TernLeast TernBlack ear2006

Breeding census 2003-2006,Clearwater, FL25Little Blue HeronReddish Egret20Cattle EgretNesting PairsGreen HeronBlack-crowned Night Heron15Yellow-crowned Night HeronSnowy PloverWilson's Plover10American OystercatcherWilletCaspian Tern5Sandwich TernLeast Tern0200320042005Year282006

Breeding census 2003-2006,Clearwater, FL700600Brown PelicanDouble- Crested CormorantNesting Pairs500Great Blue HeronGreat Egret400Snowy EgretTricolored Heron300White IbisRoseate Spoonbill200Royal TernBlack Skimmer1000200320042005Year292006

Beach-nesting shorebird protection islabor-intensive!30

Human threats to nesting birds.31

Predatory wildlife threats to nestingbirds.32

Project ColonyWatchzzzzz33Goal: To protect the importantbreeding colonies of Floridathrough the involvement ofvolunteers.Birds in colonies are sensitiveto disturbance.The colonial nesting behaviormeans that many nesting pairscan be protected at once.Local participation creates localexpertise, advocacy, andinvolvement.Colonies offer educationalopportunities.

St. Petersburg Audubon SocietyActivitieszzzzz34Leadership in organizing thebeach-nesting birdcommitteeBeach StewardsShell Key volunteerismRoof-top colonies protection,recruiting sites, educatingowners, rescuing fallenchicks with the chick-aboomTina Tern booklet for 4thgraders

Clearwater Audubon Society ActivitieszClearwater AudubonSociety protects, posts,and assists insurveying:––––353 Rooker BarAnclote BarSouth Anclote BarHoneymoon Island.

Roseate Spoonbill Banding Studyzzz36Support TavernierScience Centerroseate spoonbillbanding programto identify adultand fledglingbehavior anddispersal patterns;We banded 364fledgling chicks in2006;We banded 800chicks totalbetween 20032006.

Roseate Spoonbill research project Tampa Bay banding study37

Roseate Spoonbill research project Tampa Bay banding study38Roseate spoonbill stage III chick fitted with A/N band, April 2006.

Roseate Spoonbill phenology.39

Re-sighting banded RoseateSpoonbills40

Monofilament Cleanup October 2006zzz41Juvenile BrownPelicans are frequentlyentangled in fishingtackle.Hundreds of BrownPelicans are savedannually.Heightened anglerresponsibility isneeded.

Summaryzzzz42Monitoring of nesting coloniesguides timely & appropriatemanagement responses.Audubon worked with partners,agency staff, & volunteers toincrease protection on 22nesting colonies in Tampa Bay &Pinellas County, nesting habitatfor 95 % of the local waterbirdpopulation.Habitat management activitiesincluded non-native speciesremoval, erosion controlplantings, fishing line cleanup,mammalian predator control, etc.Outreach & coordinationactivities allow partners toincrease expertise and becomeadvocates for protection.

Accomplishmentszzzzz43Annual Surveys of Gulf Coast Ecosystemnesting colonies.Roseate Spoonbill Banding Project - longterm research study.AMOY and REEG data analysis and mgmt.Education and engagement of managingagencies & citizen scientists.Comprehensive conservation and policyinitiatives.

ResultszLong-term conservation of viable bird populations, institutionsthat effectively manage and protect local populations, and apublic that understands and supports measures needed tosecure habitats.Looking Forwardz44Ecosystem conservation initiatives and colony protection directlyinvolves volunteers, agencies, and the public to protect regionalbird colonies and habitat for 200,000 colonial waterbirds of 30species, including 14 listed species.

Audubon of FloridaFlorida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries Program410 Ware Blvd., Ste. 702Tampa, FL 33619813-623-6826 Office813-623-4086 Fax813-376-8663 Field Phone45


2 Program Overview zGulf Coast Ecosystem / Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries Program – Manage thirty species of colonial waterbirds nesting on Florida’s Gulf Coast and historic Palm Beach County sanctuaries. – Approximately 100,000 birds / 50,000 pairs, the highest diversity of these species in Florid

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