DEBUNKING PIPING PLOVER MYTH #5: PIPING PLOVER HELPERS ARE NOT CALLING FOR AN OUTRIGHT BAN OF DOGS ON THE BEACH

Despite the extremely inflammatory posts you may have been reading elsewhere, the Piping Plover volunteer monitors and local wildlife experts are not in any way, shape, or form promoting the permanent ban of dogs from Good Harbor Beach.

Currently, dogs are not allowed on the beach from May 1st to September 30th. The PiPl volunteer monitor core group, Dave Rimmer from Greenbelt, Ken Whittaker, who is Gloucester’s conservation agent, and Mass Wildlife’s John Regosin all agree that dogs should not be allowed on Good Harbor Beach beginning April 1st, but that it would be safe for Piping Plover fledglings and other migrating shorebirds for dogs to return after September 15th.

This new suggested time frame will allow birds to nest with far less interruption, shorebirds will nest earlier in the season (which will help with the chicks survival rate), and the chicks will be stronger by the time Good Harbor fills with summer crowds. This is a very logical and simple solution. Disallowing dogs on Massachusetts coastal beaches where shorebirds are nesting, beginning April 1st, is quite common. Allowing them to return after September 15, and in many cases after September 30th, is also very common. For Piping Plovers and other nesting shorebirds, protecting their habitat and sharing the shore is a matter of life and death.

To be very, very clear, we Piping Plover volunteers do not wish to permanently and forever ban dogs off Good Harbor Beach, or any Gloucester beaches.

Please email or call Mayor Sefatia’s office and your City Councilors and let them know your thoughts about Piping Plovers, dogs, and all the wildlife that finds a home at Good Harbor Beach. We hope you agree that making this simple change in the ordinance from April 1st to September 15th is the best solution for all our wild and domestic creatures. This modification to the dog ordinance will also show the federal agents that the Gloucester community recognizes our responsibility and takes very seriously our commitment to protecting endangered and threatened species.

Thank you.

Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken: sromeotheken@gloucester-ma.gov, 978-281-9700

Councillors At Large

Paul Lundberg, President: plundberg@gloucester-ma.gov, 978-282-8871

Melissa Cox: mcox@gloucester-ma.gov, 978-631-9015

Jamie O’Hara: johara@gloucester-ma.gov, 978-979-7533

Jen Holmgren: jholmgren@gloucester-ma.gov, 978-335-4748

Ward 1 Councilor Scott Memhard: smemhard@gloucester-ma.gov, 978-283-1955

Ward II Councillor Ken Hecht: khecht@gloucester-ma.gov, 617,755-9400

Ward III Councillor and Vice-president Steven LeBlanc: sleblanc@gloucester-ma.gov, 978-283-3360

Ward IV Valerie Gilman: vgilman@gloucester-ma.gov, 978-621-4682

Ward V Councillor Sean Nolan: snolan@gloucester-ma.gov, 978-375-8381

If you would like to be a Piping Plover volunteer monitor, please contact Ken Whittaker at kwhittaker@gloucester-ma.gov.

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Our Nine-day-old Piping Plover Little Pip and Mama

4 thoughts on “DEBUNKING PIPING PLOVER MYTH #5: PIPING PLOVER HELPERS ARE NOT CALLING FOR AN OUTRIGHT BAN OF DOGS ON THE BEACH

  1. It was a pretty straight forward vote when enacted and 9-0, zero opposed – when voted on November 18, 2014…”And there were many reasons to include plovers.”
    …Dave

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    1. Yes, this was the first vote in a series of votes amending the dog ordinance, the most recent of which was re: Crab “beach” (also 9-0 in favor.) Copies of all the Certificates of Votes re: dogs are available through the City Clerk’s Office, and this year copies were furnished to dog owners at the time of licensing.

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  2. As I have mentioned at a couple of pubic meetings, this sounds like a reasonable solution to me. It is unfortunate that some people are taking advantage of this challenge at Good Harbor beach to bring up other issues they have around dogs and to relitigate all aspects of the established dog ordinance. It is encouraging to see that the piping plover volunteers are not taking this stance.

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  3. I am in support BUT, it is important that other traffic that could disrupt shall also be limited to the same dates. I reported earlier this season that I observed workers driving through the dunes and moving large pieces of walkways during the last few days of dog season. While this work is necessary, it too should occur before the plover arrival and after their departure since it is at least as disruptive to the nesting birds as dogs and people.

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