WITH GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION TO GLOUCESTER’S CITY COUNCIL FOR PROTECTING OUR GOOD HARBOR BEACH PIPING PLOVERS!

Last night, the Gloucester City Council voted unanimously to make permanent the ordinance change disallowing dogs on the beach after March 31st. A sunset clause had been added to the ordinance when the ordinance  was passed last April. The sunset clause was expected to expire at the end of this year. The vote keeps in place the new regulation, which is that dogs are allowed on Good Harbor Beach from October 1st through March 31st.

The permanent rule will help all wildlife at Good Harbor Beach, but most especially nesting Piping Plovers (and Killdeers). We had a wonderfully successful year fledging three Piping Plover chicks, due we think to the cooler spring weather, the ban on dogs after April 1st, increased enforcement, and to the over 1,000 man hours donated by a group of 45 super dedicated Piping Plover volunteer monitors.

Thank you Gloucester City Council!

An extra huge shout out to two very special people– Ward One City Councilor Scott Memhard, who is also our new councilor liaison to the Animal Advisory Committee. He has been providing excellent, clear, non-combative, and non-prejudiced advice and is truly committed to assisting the committee positively, with an open and fair mind. Our deepest thanks to Heather Hall, who has spent the past month exhaustively combing through documentation to create a spreadsheet compiling the monitors report’s throughout the summer–that’s how we know there were 45 monitors total and 1,00 plus hours spent volunteering with the PiPls.

Thank you Scott and Heather ❤

 

 

GLOUCESTER CITY COUNCIL VOTES UNANIMOUSLY FOR ORDINANCE CHANGES REGARDING PIPING PLOVERS AND ALL WILDLIFE!

Thank you Community for seeing the wisdom in these changes and for giving voice to these tiny endangered birds.

Last night’s Council vote a was win for our Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers and a win for all the citizens of Gloucester. There was a tremendous turnout by the Piping Plover volunteers and friends, as well as an impressive number of letters written to the Councilors in favor of the changes to the ordinance. The combination of the two spoke volumes and definitely tipped the scales in favor of the Plovers.

Read more here:

EXCITING AND IMPACTFUL NEWS FOR OUR GOOD HARBOR BEACH PIPING PLOVERS

WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE CHANGES TO THE ANIMAL ORDINANCES CITY COUNCIL VOTED ON LAST NIGHT?

ADVOCATING FOR THE PIPING PLOVERS

Last night we spoke during open comments at the January City Council meeting. Many, many thanks to Councilor Steven LeBlanc for the advice on how to address the councilors, and to all the councilors present for taking the time to listen, including Scott Memhard, Sean Nolan, Paul Lundberg, Melissa Cox, Valerie Gilman, James O’Hara, and Jen Holmgren.

We are working toward the goal to see the recommendations in place by April 1st of 2019, before the Piping Plovers arrive at Good Harbor Beach. These recommendations were first given in writing on July 9, 2018 to Mayor Sefatia and the City Council.

The following are the concerns and recommendations presented to the councilors on behalf of the Piping Plover volunteer monitors.

January 22, 2019

Piping Plover Recommendations

On behalf of the Piping Plover volunteer monitors, we are submitting our short list of recommendations regarding the Piping Plovers nesting at Good Harbor Beach. Our goal is to have in place by April 1, 2019, measures and ordinances that will greatly increase the likelihood that the hatchlings of this tiny threatened shorebird will have a fighting chance at surviving life on Good Harbor Beach.

Piping Plovers began nesting at Good Harbor Beach in 2016. Each year, the PiPl are coming earlier and earlier. In 2016, they arrived mid-May, in 2017 they arrived at the beginning of May, and this past year, they arrived on April 3. It would appear that the same pair is returning to Good Harbor Beach, as the male marks his territory and attempts to build a nest scrape only several feet from the previous year’s nest (at Boardwalk #3 nesting area).

More Plovers than ever were seen at Good Harbor Beach this spring, and if not for constant disturbances by dogs in the Boardwalk #1 nesting area, we would have had two pairs nesting on the beach.

Why are the birds arriving earlier and earlier? We can presume that the pair are more experienced travelers and parents and that Good Harbor Beach is their “territory.” Does this mean we will eventually have dozens of pairs nesting on Good Harbor Beach? No, because the PiPl are very territorial and they will defend a fairly large area, preventing other PiPl from nesting in their site.

This past year the PiPl pair hatched four chicks. All four chicks were killed by either crows, gulls, or dogs. All three are human-created issues, and all three can be remedied. The following are the four recommendations and actions we wish to see take place.

Recommendations

1) Change the dog ordinance to not allow dogs on the beach after March 31.

Currently, dogs are allowed on the beach from October 1 to May 1. The Piping Plover volunteer monitor core group, Dave Rimmer from Greenbelt, Mass Wildlife’s John Regosin, and Gloucester’s Animal Advisory Committee all recommend that dogs should not be allowed on Good Harbor Beach beginning April 1st.

This new suggested time frame will allow birds to nest on the beach (as opposed to in the parking lot), 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 1, is the norm. Allowing them to return after September 30 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.

2) Rope off the nesting area by April 1.

Poles, with threatened species signs, and a triple row of roping of nesting sites, to be in place no later than April 1. Essex County Greenbelt’s Dave Rimmer will assist with this measure.

3) Enforce the existing ordinances regarding dogs (and littering) at all times throughout the year.

 Only enforcing dog ordinances at Good Harbor Beach during nesting season is creating hostility toward the Piping Plovers.

Additionally, we do not recommend extremely high fines as we feel that may become an impediment to issuing and collecting the fines.

We know of at least one example where the magistrate dismissed the tickets issued to a woman who claimed to have a service dog. This woman was running rampant on the beach and throughout dunes with her service dog off leash throughout the entire time the PiPl were nesting, from April through May. Despite the fact that former dog officer Diane Corliss caught the woman on camera with her dog off leash on the beach, and in the dunes, all the tickets that were issued by the animal control officer were dismissed. This is neither fair to the officers who are working hard to keep the dogs off the beach or to the plover volunteers who are spending inordinate amounts of time trying to keep the PiPl safe.

4) Increase trash collection.

When no barrels are placed at the entrances to the beach, people dump bags of trash there anyway. When barrels are in place, people put trash in the barrels however, when the barrels become full, they again resort to leaving bags of trash behind, only next to the barrels. In either scenario, gulls and crows are attracted to the trash. Both gulls and crows rip open the bags and the trash is blown throughout the parking lot and marsh, soon finding its way onto the beach and into the ocean.

Hungry gulls and crows waiting for people to leave their trash behind eat tiny shorebirds.

Thank you for taking the time to consider our recommendations.

Can these recommendations be actionable for the spring of 2019?

Piping Plover chick spreading his wings.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs9cvCgH2YS/

 

Saint Peter’s Fiesta Friday Opening Ceremony

Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester -5 Kim Smith 2014 Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester Sefatia Rosaria ©Kim Smith 2014Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester Bella ©Kim Smith 2014Beautiful Bella

Friday’s picture perfect summer skies made for an especially festive and at times poignant Saint Peter’s Fiesta grand opening ceremony. Festival-goers gathered at the Saint Peter’s Club and, after everyone who had participated in the day’s earlier sporting events had raced home to change, the procession carrying Saint Peter through the square and around the old city hall (American Legion building) began. Eight fishermen are given the honor of transporting Saint Peter on a specially crafted cart.Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester -3 ©Kim Smith 2014 Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester -6 ©Kim Smith 2014The Wagner and Sleepy Pallazola Families were given special commendations by the Fiesta committee Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester -4 Kim Smith 2014   Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester -2 ©Kim Smith 2014Rev. James M. Achadinha, the new pastor for Our Lady of Good Voyage and Holy Family, was introduced to the crowd. Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014 -7

Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester Domenic Nicastro Joe Novello Joe Orlando ©Kim Smith 2014Dominic Nicastro hands the care of Saint Peter to Joe Orlando

Ann Margaret Ferrante Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014 State Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante and Senator Bruce Tarr gave moving speeches and rallying cries for the fishing industry.

Bruce Tarr Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Gloucester city Council Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Gloucester City Council

Sefatia Romeo Thekan  Rosaria Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester -2 ©Kim Smith 2014Sisters Sefatia and Rosario

Gloucester Harbor Walk Gus Foote Dedication Sunday

Tomorrow, Sunday, at noon is the dedication of the Gus Foote Park. Following the dedication, I will be giving a mini-talk about the butterfly gardens planted along the Harbor Walk. A yummy clam chowder tasting is planned, provided by the Gloucester House Restaurant. At 12:45, we’ll Walk the Walk with Mayor Kirk. The theme of Sunday’s walk is Gloucester’s maritime heritage.

Sunny skies are predicted for tomorrow–perfect weather for strolling through the gardens while listening to sea stories. I hope you’ll come join us!

~

Gus Foote, now 82 years young, is a retired Gloucester City Councilman. He represented Ward 2 for more than three decades. In 2011, Gus was reappointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve another five-year term on the Gloucester Housing Authority. Gus Foote Image Courtesy GMG 2009

Cambridge Seven Associates Gloucester Harbor Walk Team. From left to right: Peter Sollogub, Principal; Ethan Lacy, Chris Muskopf, Tim Mansfield, and Rosie Weinberg

Large Support for Newell Stadium Renewal Project

Local citizens attend the City Council Meeting last night in support for the Newell Stadium Renewal Project

GFAA presented the plan for the renewal project along with Mayor Kirk’s support. 

Enthusiastic applauses  from the crowd came after the council approved their support.