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Piping Plover


Piping Plover Poor nesting success and low adult survivorship have been identified as the major factors influencing the decline of Piping Plover populations on the Great Plains. It has been estimated that annual production on the Great Plains is approximately 0.86 young per pair whereas a stable population requires production of at least 1.13 young per pair. There is no practical way of increasing adult survivorship, so augmenting breeding production has been the goal of management efforts in many parts of the species range. In Alberta, management activities have focused on several fronts: Planning, Habitat Protection, and Research.

Planning: In 1991, a draft management plan for the Piping Plover was prepared. This document reviewed the status of the plover in Alberta, highlighted threats to plover populations on key breeding lakes, and suggested options available for managing local populations and habitats.

Habitat Securement, Protection and Enhancement: Habitat management for Piping Plovers has occurred in four locations: The "Rider" Lake/Rockeling Bay area, and Killarney, Little Fish, and Handhills Lakes. In these areas uplands have been secured around traditional nesting areas, fences erected to eliminate cattle from nesting beaches, beaches are being burned and snow packed in order to reduce vegetation encroachment. There have also been attempts made to reduce flooding by implementing strategies to stabilize these lakes. 

Research: Several research projects with applications for plover management have been conducted in the province. Research has also been conducted into mapping substrates and establishing habitat suitability indices for Little Fish Lake, modeling the hydrology of major Piping Plover lakes in the province and determining the effectiveness of herbicides for controlling vegetation encroachment on shorelines.

Reprinted from Alberta Wildlife Status Report No. 1(1997), with permission from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

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