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Accession Number 5004030

Title Assessment of impacts of a Shoreline Protection Project on endangered Roseate Terns

at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge

Project Description The construction in two phases, with Phase 1 (north end construction) now set to begin in

September 2000 and the start of Phase 2 (south end construction) yet to be determined, of a

Shoreline Protection Project (SPP) - a rock revetment on the eastern side and wrapping around

the north and south ends of Falkner Island, CT - will impact the nesting habitat used by all the

endangered Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) and most of the Common Terns (S. hirundo) that

nest on this unit of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. The revetment may impact

both the distribution and productivity of the Roseate Terns, and also several research studies

integrated within a long-term research/monitoring project (hereafter, the Metapopulation Project,

see Accession #5001795) that are producing much useful information towards the recovery of this

species. While some impacts on the terns of the revetment construction will be assessed as part

of the ongoing Metapopulation Project, additional research on habitat use and behavior is needed

before Phase 2 begins to determine (1) how adult Roseate Terns select nest sites in different

habitats, (2) how the revetment constructed in Phase 1 affects the movements and use of

microhabitats and hiding places by Roseate Tern chicks, and (3) how the revetment affects the

survival of chicks to fledging. The additional fieldwork for this 3-year study will be done as part of a

Masters Degree Thesis by a graduate student at the Amherst campus of the University of

Massachusetts. The objective of this overall Assessment Project, therefore, is to collect baseline

information on selected aspects of behavior and ecology that influence the distribution and

productivity of Roseate Terns nesting in different habitats at Falkner Island, and then to assess

what impacts construction of the SPP may have (1) on both tern species, and (2) secondarily on

Patuxents ongoing Metapopulation Project and other related studies of tern reproductive ecology

and behavior being done at this site.

Keywords construction impacts, habitat modification, habitat use, impact assessment, long-term monitoring,

long-term research, productivity, restoration ecology, roseate tern, species-at-risk,

Principal Jeffrey A Spendelow, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center:;

Investigators Corey M Grinnell, University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation:; Peter D Vickery, University of Massachusetts; and Massachusetts

Audubon Society:; Jeff S Hatfield, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research


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