USFWS Training PowerPoint Presentation

Monitoring Program
The Federal Volunteer
Services Agreement
 I understand that I will not receive any compensation for the above service
and that volunteers are NOT considered Federal employees for any
purpose other than tort claims and injury compensation. I understand that
volunteer service is not creditable for leave accrual or any other employee
benefits. I also understand that either the government or I may cancel this
agreement at any time by notifying the other party.
 I understand that my volunteer position may require a reference check,
background investigation, and/or a criminal history inquiry in order for me to
perform my duties.
 I understand that all publications, films, slides, videos, artistic or similar
endeavors, resulting from my volunteer services as specifically stated in the
attached job description, will become the property of the United States, and
as such, will be in the public domain and not subject to copyright laws.
 I understand the health and physical condition requirements for doing the
work as described in the job description and at the project location, and
certify that the statement I have checked below is true.
Volunteer Duties and
Work at least one 4-hour shift a month from April until the end of August.
Observe and collect data for nesting piping plovers, least terns, common
terns and American oystercatchers
Record shorebird behavior in detail and submit as appropriate.
Report any problems encountered (i.e., nest abandonment, predator
problems, public problems) as soon as possible.
A secondary but important function involves educating beachgoers who
may have questions about what you are doing, or piping plovers and least
terns in general, may be sitting or walking too close to a nest, or have a dog
on the beach.
Opportunities to assist with predator exclosures, protective habitat fencing,
and night monitoring may arise. Help may be needed in April with symbolic
string and signs in Milford, Stratford and West Haven. Help may be needed
during the first week of June to check atypical beaches for any undetected
piping plover pairs. Volunteers are also invited to help monitor nesting areas
at night during July 4th firework shows.
Volunteer Conduct
While being a Plover Monitor can be enjoyable, it is a job with
responsibilities in the areas of behavior, dress, and appearance. Your
performance affects public perception of wildlife management and
endangered species conservation. For example:
 Volunteers must follow all procedures outlined in this document to
ensure that they can monitor the birds without causing harassment.
 Volunteers need to be neat in dress and appearance. Shorts are
allowed but bathing suits are not. Shirts must be worn at all times.
 Volunteers must have a current Volunteer Services Agreement on
file with USFWS. Please note that you may bring guests with you
while monitoring, but unless they have signed this form as well, they
are not protected by the Federal government for liability purposes.
 Volunteers must not drink alcohol, swim, sunbathe, smoke, fish or
partake in any similar activities while monitoring.
Monitoring Procedures
Bring the following items with you:
 wear your USFWS volunteer ID card
 binoculars (optional: spotting scope )
 piping plover brochures
 data sheets or notepad and writing utensil
You may also like to have:
 insect repellant
 suntan lotion/sunblock
 jacket/coat, gloves during chilly or windy days
 water & food, hot drinks on cold days
 a camera or camcorder
Monitoring Procedures
For safety reasons (yours and the birds) do not monitor on days of
inclement weather (e.g., violent winds, heavy rain, severe cold,
thunderstorms) and use the buddy system when possible. Most surveys
require walking several miles on semi-remote sandy or rocky beaches.
Your survey may include periods of standing, bending, hiking over
uneven terrain, and exposure to sun and wind.
Begin survey by recording weather, time, tide, date, and observer
Before heading down the beach, scan area with binoculars paying close
attention to the species and location of all birds on the beach, especially
plovers. Also, record any human activities occurring on the beach.
Scanning the beach before approaching allows you to observe the
behavior of the birds before they are disturbed, after which they may
exhibit defensive behavior.
Do not enter into the symbolic fencing for any reason and stay as
far away from closed areas as possible. Do not come between birds
and their nests. We recommend walking along the water line when
Record all behaviors of piping plovers in detail such as possible pairing,
courtship, feeding, incubating, and defense of territory. Note the location
of territories if birds are actively defending them. Pay close attention to
the area where plovers are first sited because adults will lead you away
from a nest or chick.
Monitoring Procedures
Reduce time spent monitoring areas with established plover pairs or nests. Nests are
very difficult to find and more susceptible to predation and abnormal embryonic
development when not attended by adult plovers.
If a new nest is found, note landmarks on beach (large log, wrack line, section, pole
number, etc) and call CT DEEP. Never place any man-made objects at or near the
nest or attempt to mark the nest in any way, as it may attract predators. Only
US Fish and Wildlife Service or CT Department of Energy and Environmental
Protection staff may exclose nests. Nests will be exclosed as soon as possible after
they are reported. If you see excessive trash or any other potentially dangerous
objects within closed areas, contact the USFWS or CT DEEP wildlife technicians for
Once a nest is exclosed, there is no need to keep tabs on the number of eggs in the
nest. If an adult is incubating a nest it is assumed that all eggs are accounted for.
Flushing an adult off the nest will expose the eggs to the elements unnecessarily.
If a nest appears to be abandoned (parents are not observed near nest even as you
have moved away from the nest) or destroyed call, CT DEEP. Many nests wash out
during full moon high tides. Other causes of unsuccessful nests are abandonment
due to disturbance, destruction (both intentional and unintentional) by humans or
pets, or predated by fox, crows, rats, domestic cats, raccoon, and other predators.
Record sightings or signs of predators on the beach or plover areas, such as tracks,
scat, and digging. Crows and gulls will often perch on signs or exclosures and may
predate adults and chicks.
Monitoring Procedures
Once chicks have hatched, record the number of adults and number of chicks seen.
This information will help determine the number of chicks that survive until fledging,
an indicator of a successful nest.
Note other avian species in immediate area
If you see any suspicious behavior or suspect a person may be responsible for
destroying or harassing adult piping plovers, nests, and chicks, follow the Good
Witness guidelines, call USFWS Law Enforcement or CT DEEP EnCon Police (see
Important Phone Numbers sheet). Once you are in a safe location, fill out a Plover
Incident Observation Report (attached). When you get home, please send Laura
Saucier an email to let her know there was an issue and if/how it was resolved.
Educate beach goers in a friendly and informative manner about piping plovers.
Relay beach regulations only if you feel comfortable. Never attempt to physically
stop someone from violating regulations. Volunteers are not responsible for
enforcing beach regulations, but instead informing the public about what the
regulations are. If a problem or hostile situation arises, diffuse the matter quickly and
continue down the beach.
To protect the plovers as much as possible, do not voluntarily disclose nest locations.
You may explain the importance of the predator-proof exclosures if questioned.
Monitoring Schedule
Monitoring is needed April-August on a daily basis.
Times of high beach traffic are the most critical (weekends, holidays, warm
“beach” weather when school ends).
Sign-up by emailing [email protected] with your requested schedule
either with specific dates or a certain day of the week each month. Please
include AM or PM if possible (specific time not needed).
If you need to alter your schedule or cannot monitor at your scheduled time
please let us know as soon as you can at [email protected]
Available locations include Sherwood Island SP (Westport), Pleasure Beach
(Bridgeport), Long Beach, Russian Beach (Stratford), Milford Point, Silver
Sands SP (Milford), Sandy/Morse Points (West Haven), Griswold Point (Old
Lyme - early in season only), Bluff Point SP (Groton).
Schedules should be completed and sent to us by April 1st if possible.
Areas of greatest need include those with the highest concentration of birds
and people: Long Beach, Milford Point, Sandy/Morse Points, Bluff Point.
Data Submission
Data submission can be completed by electronic form, “Online Data Submission
Form”, on the AAfCW blog ( in the right-hand
column under “Important Documents”. Please enter all required fields.
Alternatively data can be sent to [email protected] as in past years. All
questions and comments should be sent to [email protected]
Field datasheets, a Piping Plover brochure, USFWS and CT DEEP documents and
more can also be found on our blog under “Important Documents”.
If you use eBird you may enter your data as you would normally then share the
checklist with [email protected] but please ensure you enter ALL applicable
information we request on the datasheets.
We will send you a quick follow-up email simply to confirm receipt of your data and
If you have bird photos that need identification, questions concerning monitoring,
unknown sightings, want to tell us a cool story about your trip to the beach, noted a
lot of loose dogs, etc. please email us. We’re here to help!
Please submit your data as soon as you can after returning from monitoring.
Maintaining a respectful distance from the birds is more important than data.
Please record your hours and time in the field for each trip and submit it to us.
Important Phone Numbers
and Contacts
To report an emergency or life threatening situation, call 911!
For routine questions email [email protected]
To report a new nest, damage to symbolic fencing and signs, predators, vandalism:
First email Laura Saucier [email protected] AND Rebecca Foster [email protected]
If you do not get a response from the email, call one of the following people:
Laura Saucier, CT DEEP Wildlife Technician
Rebecca Foster, CT DEEP Piping Plover Technician
Jenny Dickson, CT DEEP Biologist
Kristina Vagos, USFWS Biologist
860-399-2513 ext. 113
Natural Resources Law Enforcement Protocol:
To report take or threats to birds/wildlife, you may call the following phone numbers in descending order.
Once contact is made, you are relieved of making any further calls. When you get home, send Laura Saucier
an email to let her know there was an issue and if/how it was resolved.
CT DEEP EnCon Police
(explain that you are a USFWS volunteer and need to be put
in touch with an officer closest to where you are)
Doug Beaudreau, Federal Wildlife Officer
Tom Ricardi, USFWS Special Agent
Rick Potvin, USFWS Refuge Manager
401-354-9329 (cell)
860-280-4894 (cell)
860-961-4247 (cell)
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