Three recent wins for Red Knots

Red Knots

The Red Knot, one of the Western Hemisphere’s migratory distance champions, has been the subject of three good news stories in the past month.

1, horseshoe crab fishing stop

On April 6, the U.S. District Court in Charleston, South Carolina prevented the harvesting of horseshoe crabs from 30 South Carolina beaches this spring. Red knots and other shorebirds feed on horseshoe crab eggs along the Atlantic coast to fuel their journeys to Arctic breeding grounds.

The court order lasts until spawning season, which ends June 15. Listed beaches have been identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Department of Natural Resources as critical habitat areas for knots. “This is the most significant type of protection ever put in place for knots and horseshoe crabs on the east coast,” said Catherine Wannamaker, attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center.

The order also prevents fishermen from placing female horseshoe crabs in containment ponds before they are bled by pharmaceutical companies for their blood, which is used to detect bacterial toxins.

2, the wildlife refuge stops crabbing

The court victory follows a March announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that harvesting horseshoe crabs did not meet the goals of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, which sits along the coast of North Carolina. South. The project is currently halting harvesting across the entire 66,000 acre refuge.

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3, the federal government finalizes the recovery plan, critical habitat

On April 12, the FWS said it had revised the designation of critical habitat for threatened species close Red Knot subspecies. The revised rule proposes to designate 683,405 acres of critical habitat in 13 states. The revision includes an overall increase of 32,615 acres from the proposal released on July 15, 2021, due to added areas, changes to previously proposed units, and acreage corrections. A public comment period on critical habitat is open until May 30.

Then, on April 20, FWS said it had finalized a recovery plan for the close subspecies. The recovery plan, which was made available to the public in May 2021, provides a roadmap to help the bird thrive to the point where it no longer needs federal protection.

The recovery plan is a non-regulatory guiding document that identifies, organizes and prioritizes site-specific recovery actions, sets measurable recovery goals and includes time and cost estimates to remove the close red knot on the Federal Endangered and Threatened Species List. The Service is also completing a recovery implementation strategy that accompanies the actions of the recovery plan into detailed activities.

Background on the red bow

THE close The red knot was listed as threatened in 2015 due to its population decline linked to multiple threats and stressors that have impacted habitat and food supply across its wide range. One of the longest migrators in the animal kingdom, close Red Knots travel up to 18,000 miles each year between their breeding grounds in the central Arctic tundra of Canada and four wintering regions, ranging from North Carolina to Chile.

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The unique and impressive life history of the subspecies depends on suitable habitat, food and weather conditions in a network of remote sites that are vulnerable to development, disturbance and the complex challenges of climate change. Beaches and marshes continue to be lost due to sea level rise, shoreline stabilization and development. Climate change also affects food availability, the timing of annual migrations and breeding habitat in the Arctic.

Recovery of close The Red Knot can only be achieved through coordinated conservation efforts involving public and private partners who share a commitment to this common goal. The recovery plan reflects input from natural resource agencies and conservation organizations across the species’ range.

Many of these partners are already working to advance close Red Knot recovery at wintering, breeding, and staging areas by restoring habitat, reducing human disturbance to birds, and implementing new technologies to track migration. Other key actions highlighted in the recovery plan include safeguarding the close Red Knot food supplies, filling data gaps, coordinating communication and outreach, and responding to new threats as they emerge.

Actions for the benefit of close Red Knots are home to other species that share their habitats, including Piping Plovers, Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Northeast Beach Tiger Beetle, Beach Pigweed, and Aboriginal Apple Trees. Intact coastal habitats are also more resilient to climate change and can help protect nearby communities from associated impacts.

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