The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will temporarily close most of the Jessup’s Neck peninsula at the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge in Noyac, as well as the beach above the mean high tide line at Amagansett National Wildlife Refuge in East Hampton to protect nesting shorebirds. The partial beach closures occur annually, and will run from April 1 to August 31.
Refuge visitors will still be able to access Morton’s Wild Birds Nature Trail and a portion of the beach.
Nesting shorebirds at Morton and Amagansett National Wildlife Refuges include the federally threatened piping plover, the state threatened least tern and the American oystercatcher, a species of conservation concern. Last season, Morton provided habitat for two pairs of piping plover, 27 pairs of least terns and one pair of American oystercatchers. Two pairs of piping plover and 24 pairs of least terns nested at Amagansett in 2017. The partial beach closures help to increase nest success and protect the birds from a variety of disturbances. The public can assist these efforts to protect wildlife and their habitats by respecting closed areas, keeping the refuge beaches and trails clean and avoiding activities that may disturb wildlife, including landing watercraft on the beach.
The principal threats to endangered and threatened include human disturbance, predators and loss of habitat. Beach closures provide undisturbed nesting, foraging and resting habitats for these species.