To the editor:
I am writing in response to the extensive article published in The Eagle-Tribune on Oct. 20 regarding the plight of the piping plovers. Much has been made over the beachfront residents who are trying to maintain their private walkways.
My home is not on the waterfront but I am a year-round resident and my family enjoys the beach nearly every day in the summer and frequently all year long. As I hear it, this argument of walkway legality has been going on for literally generations. I do take issue with the implication that beach residents don’t care about these endangered birds because we do care.
It seems that the real threat to these birds is continually overlooked. Every winter the heavy ocean winds drive the white beach sand up against the dunes, extending them closer and closer to the high tide line, as much as 100 feet over the past years. The aggressive dune grass continues to creep ever closer to this line and consequently these nesting birds, who seem to prefer the sparser, new grass, get swept away with the higher tides.
The actual beach is dwindling away. If in the off-season the dune grass was maintained and cut back somewhat away from the water, there would be safer areas for the birds to nest and the beachgoers would have ample area to enjoy the beach without endangering the birds.
Because the grass has narrowed the beach so much, it cannot be properly maintained by raking it from June to the middle of August (prime beach time) and is plagued by seaweed, and whatever else the ocean deposits.
We love our beach and respect our wildlife, but it’s time that the authorities stop the blame game and fix the real problem.