As Tourists Flock to Shore, Need to Protect Endangered Nesting Birds Poses Dilemma

Those rebuilding storm-battered NJ beaches and dunes try to balance needs of wildlife and people

Credit: Tracey Samuelson/WHYY
An American oystercatcher nests in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park on Long Beach Island.
You might call them birds of a feather flocking together. The Jersey Shore provides habitat for people, both year-round residents and summer visitors – and for ocean birds that rely on the beaches and dunes for nesting.

Both people and birds had their worlds turned upside-down by Hurricane Sandy. In some places, the storm washed away nesting areas. In other places, such as Seaside Heights and Long Beach Island, storm erosion actually created new nesting spots for ocean birds.

Tracey Samuelson of WHYY/NewsWorks, a partner of NJ Spotlight, takes a look at what biologist Beth Brandreth of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers calls “a big balancing act,” trying to balance the needs of both people and birds at the Jersey Shore.

Read or listen to her report.