Nesting habitat for shorebirds has become increasingly scarce in Franklin County and elsewhere along the Gulf coast. So when FWC proposed restoring an historic 0.25 acre area on the west side of the boat basin to secure nesting habitat for state-threatened least terns (Sternula antillarum) and black skimmers (Rynchops niger) -- high priority species within the South Atlantic Migratory Bird Initiative Conservation Plan -- we jumped at the chance. Not only will shorebird habitat be restored, but the FSUCML will maintain important foraging habitat for non-breeding water birds.
Hutchinson Design & Construction, Inc., of Apalachicola, FL, contracted to undertake the construction, started by removing whatever tall dense vegetation remained in the area after Hurricane Michael had done its bit. The vegetation not only made the area unsuitable for nesting but provided refuge for potential predators. Hutchinson then built a wall of logs from pine trees taken from FSUCML property (already slated for removal) to protect the restored area from erosive wave action while keeping the new nesting material -- a mix of 75% crushed oyster shell and 25% sand overlain over Geotile -- in place.
We anticipate soon after the restoration is completed that there will be both citizen science and educational opportunities provided by the site, with kiosks explaining the importance of beach nesting birds and their habitat. Keep your eyes open for announcements under Current Volunteer Opportunities.
3-17-2020 Close-up of the nesting area
3-17-2020 Bird Nesting Restriction Sign
3-17-2020 Bird nesting signs are placed and the restoration area is roped off
2-27-2020 Clear snapshot of toe and sill logs with nesting material
2-27-2020 Drone image of shoreline
2-27-2020 Drone images captured of restoration area
2-27-2020 Sunny day to celebrate project completion!
2-26-2020 Placing extra limestone as anchors for the logs
2-26-2020 Nesting material being placed in the toe and sill logs
2-17-2020 Debating over the size of crushed oyster shell fragments
2-17-2020 Crushing oyster shell to make appropriate nesting material
2-17-2020 Pine logs in place with FSU campus in background
2-13-2020 Placing the pine trees to become toe and sill logs
2-13-2020 Going up in the "cherry-picker" to tie a rope around the pine to safely guide it to the ground
2-13-2020 Hutchinson Design and Construction digging around one of our slated for removal pine trees
2-7-2020 Placing stakes to mark off the area
2-7-2020 Using GPS to pinpoint exact coordinates of the project parameters
2-7-2020 Employees from Hutchinson Construction and Design work with Katie Konchar from FWC to plot out the restoration area