Natural Resources, School of


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Brown, M.B., J.G. Jorgensen, and L.R. Dinan. 2012. 2012 Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover Monitoring, Research, Management, and Outreach Report for the Lower Platte River, Nebraska. Joint report of the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and the Nongame Bird Program, Wildlife Division, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Lincoln, NE.


Copyright © 2012 May Bomberger Brown, Joel G. Jorgensen, and Lauren R. Dinan.


This document reports on our monitoring, research, management, and outreach activities during the past 12 months (2012). We prepared it to inform our partners, cooperating agencies, funding sources, and other interested parties of our activities and to provide a preliminary summary of our results.

The Lower Platte River and its major tributaries provide important nesting habitat for two state and federally protected bird species, the Interior Least Tern (Sternula antillarum athalassos) and Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus). The Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership (TPCP), based at the University of Nebraska-School of Natural Resources, and the Nongame Bird Program (NBP), based at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC), work cooperatively on Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover monitoring, research, management, and outreach activities in Nebraska. The TPCP and NBP focus on nesting areas along the Lower Platte, Loup, and Elkhorn rivers in the eastern part of the state; however, we also address tern and plover issues across the state and region. Our joint program includes terns and plovers nesting in natural, on-river habitats (midstream river sandbars) and human-created, off-river habitats (sand and gravel mines, dredging operations and lakeshore housing developments). The TPCP leads efforts on the off-river habitats, while the NBP leads efforts on the river habitats.

The report is divided into five (5) sections:

1. Introduction—describes the project area and summarizes conditions encountered during the 2012 field season.

2. Monitoring—describes the data we collect every year for basic demographic analysis and includes the number of nests, adults, eggs, chicks, and fledglings found in the focus area. These data are collected and summarized in a form that allows comparison across the range of each species.

3. Research—describes our research objectives, data collection, and data analyses.

4. Management—describes our actions to protect Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers and their nests from interference.

5. Outreach—describes our efforts to increase public awareness and understanding of Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers and to promote environmental literacy.