Natural Resources, School of


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Brown, M. B., and J. G. Jorgensen. 2008. 2008 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 © 2008 Mary Bomberger Brown and Joel G. Jorgensen. Used by permission.


This document reports on our monitoring, research, management, and outreach activities during the past 12 months. The report was prepared to inform our partners and funding agencies of our activities and to provide a preliminary summary of results. These data analyses are not final and should be treated as such when citing information, data, or analyses found in this document.

The Interior Least Tern (Sternula antillarum athallassos) is a state and federal endangered species; it was first listed in 1985. The Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) is a state and federal threatened species; it was also first listed in 1985. As a result of their listing status they are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act and the Nebraska Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act. Terns and plovers are both identified as Tier1-At Risk species by the Nebraska Legacy Project. In Nebraska, terns and plovers nest on sparsely or nonvegetated expanses of sand in the Platte River valley and along its tributaries. These two species use similar habitats and often coexist in the same colonies during the nesting season.

The Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership (TPCP) and the Nongame Bird Program (NBP) at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) work cooperatively on Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover monitoring, research, management, education, and outreach activities in Nebraska. Our program includes terns and plovers nesting on midstream river sandbars, sand and gravel mines, and lakeshore housing developments. These habitats are sufficiently different that they require different management methodologies. This document summarizes our activities during 2008 and highlights our activities during the nesting season. The TPCP led our efforts at sand and gravel mines and lakeshore housing developments, while the NBP took the lead in our efforts on river sandbars.

The report is divided into five sections:

1. Introduction—describes the project area and summarizes conditions encountered during the 2008 season.

2. Monitoring—presents data that are collected annually for basic demographic analyzes and includes the number of nests, adults, chicks, and fledglings found in the area. These data are collected and summarized in a form that allows comparison across the entire range of each species. This section also includes annual survey results.

3. Research—provides details on data collection and analyzes these data relative to specific defined objectives, and involves more rigorous statistical analysis of the data.

4. Management—describes actions intended to protect Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover colonies and nests from human interference.

5. Education and Outreach—describes activities designed to increase public awareness and understanding of Least Terns and Piping Plovers.