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DMMA

Elevated, Sandy Area

French Tamarisk and Eastern Baccharis Concentrations

Point Count Locations

Figure 2. General distribution of dominant vegetation, point-count locations, and substrate conditions within the DMMA of the Kings Dredging Project, Camden County, Georgia, 2010.


3.0 METHODS Pre-construction migratory bird nest search surveys were initiated on the DMMA May 23, 2010. A combination of variable length strip transects, road/weir platform point-counts, and area searches were executed in areas of suitable avian nesting habitat and areas of observed avian activity. Nest searches were conducted July 7,8 and 9, 2010, to detect active nesting in the disposal basin prior to the placement of construction equipment. Following the initial nest search surveys, daily point-count surveys were conducted for the remainder of the migratory bird monitoring period from May 24 to August 28, 2010. The area was surveyed once daily prior to 9:00 am or after 5:00 pm per USACE contract specifications. Six minute point-counts were conducted at seven survey locations on the basins’ perimeter (Figure 2). Survey locations were chosen based on basin accessibility, time constraints, and optimal viewing conditions. Fujinon® 7 x 50 mm and Canon® 10 x 50 mm binoculars were utilized for viewing. At each point-count location, all birds were identified by sight and/or call; location noted; number of individuals documented; and observed activity recorded. The daily survey route was randomly rotated to vary the starting time at each sampling point as much as possible. At the projects conclusion on August 28, 2010, a total of 95 survey days were completed with five days being lost to bad weather. The majority of the surveys were conducted in the morning timeframe due to afternoon weather patterns in coastal Georgia. A total of 69 surveys were conducted in the morning (before 9:00 am) and 26 were conducted in the afternoon (after 5:00 pm) during the monitoring period. Photographic equipment is prohibited on the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base; therefore photos were not taken on the project site. All photos in this report are for representative purposes only. 4.0 RESULTS Nesting One nesting Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina) was discovered in the DMMA during nest searches. Based on avian behavior and the amount of salt cedar vegetation in the DMMA, it is possible unlocated active nests of this species were present. Two Common Ground Dove fledglings were observed during surveys. Species Abundance A total of 65 species representing 23 families were observed in the DMMA during the survey period. The most abundant bird group observed during the project was the wading birds. This group significantly outnumbered the other bird groups observed during DMMA surveys. Of the remaining bird groups identified, swallows were the next most abundant (Figure 8). The least abundant bird groups were Crows and Jays with only one individual observed during the entire monitoring period (Figure 8). Protected Species A total of one federal and/or state protected species were observed during avian surveys on the DMMA (Table 1). Wilson’s plovers (10 individuals) were observed utilizing the basin mudflat areas as foraging habitat during August surveys.


Migratory Bird Survey Results

Bio Ecologica, LLC

Figure 3. May species abundance for shorebird and wading bird groups observed during Kings Bay Dredging Project, Camden County, Georgia, 2010.

Figure 4. June species abundance for shorebird and wading bird groups observed during Kings Bay Dredging Project, Camden County, Georgia, 2010.


Migratory Bird Survey Results

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Figure 5. July species abundance for shorebird and wading bird groups observed during Kings Bay Dredging Project, Camden County, Georgia, 2010.

Figure 6. August species abundance for shorebird and wading bird groups observed during Kings Bay Dredging Project, Camden County, Georgia, 2010.

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Migratory Bird Survey Results

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Figure 7. Total project shorebird and wading bird comparisons during Kings Bay Dredging Project, Camden County, Georgia, 2010.

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Migratory Bird Survey Results

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Figure 8. Total species abundance for the remaining major bird groups observed during Kings Bay Inner Channel Dredging Project, Camden County, Georgia, 2009.

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Migratory Bird Survey Results

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Table 1. Protected species observed during Kings Bay Inner Channel Dredging Project, Camden County, Georgia, 2009. Species Wilson's Plover

Scientific Name Charadrius wilsonia

Federal Status NL

State Status T

NL = Not listed as federally protected in Camden County E = Listed as a endangered in Georgia by the GDNR LE = Listed as federally endangered by the USFWS R = Listed as rare in Georgia by the GDNR T = Listed as Threatened in Georgia by the GDNR Source: GDNR 2008; USFWS 2009

Bird Distribution in the Project Area Bird activity in the project area was typically concentrated in the same general areas depending on the species group and water levels in the basin as a result of dredging activities. Large concentrations of shorebirds were identified in the central portion of the basin. As dredging operations proceeded, the central area of the DMMA became saturated and appeared to provide good quality mudflat foraging habitat in shallower areas. Red-winged blackbirds were concentrated in areas of relatively dense French Tamarisk and Eastern Baccharis vegetation in the northeast and central areas of the DMMA. Cattle egrets were also consistently observed on the perimeter of the basin, while other species were noted in interior areas. Wading birds in the interior areas tended to roost, loaf, and forage in vegetation on the southwestern/western fringes of the open, flat expanse of the basin interior. The Emberizidae and Cardinalidae groups were consistently observed in one particular area of the basin Based on surveys performed in previous years by BioE biologists, the vegetation in this area is remains should be in the past tense. relatively undisturbed from year to year and therefore, provides some of the densest vegetative cover on the island, as well as a small ditch which provides a water source. 5.0 CONCLUSION Migratory birds are protected under federal and state guidelines, as well as international conventions. The USACE has the regulatory authority under the USFWS for enforcement of these requirements during maintenance dredging projects in the United States. There are 341 species of neotropical migratory birds that breed in the United States and Canada and winter in Latin America including species of plovers, terns, hawks, cranes, warblers and sparrows. Many of these birds are presently in decline, and several species are protected as threatened or endangered under the ESA. Environmental changes and anthropogenic factors reduce the quantity of native vegetation and alters its local structure and regional spatial pattern. These changes can cause local extirpations of bird species associated with native vegetation. Continued monitoring of migratory bird species and their habitats is needed in an effort to learn what conservation measures are proving effective in halting precipitous population declines of many avian species.


Migratory Bird Survey Results

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6.0 REFERENCES

25 acre nesting habitat

Animal Legal and Historical Center.2009. Georgia: Title 27. Game and Fish Chapter 3. Wildlife Generally Article 5. Protection Of Endangered Wildlife. Accessed 02 September 2009. http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/stusga27_3_132.htm. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2004. Handbook of Bird Biology, Second Edition. S. Podulka, R. Rohrbaugh, Jr., and R. Bonney, eds. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Ithaca, NY. Ehrlich, P.R., Dobkin, D.S., and Wheye, D. 1988. The Birder’s Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds. Simon and Schuster, Inc. New York, NY. Fonferek, W. J. 2003. Protection Specifications for Contracts: Migratory Bird Protection. Accessed 05 July 2009. http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/pd/birdspec.htm. GDNR (Georgia Department of Natural resources) Wildife Resources Division. 2008. Protected Bird Species in Georgia. Accessed 04 September 2009. http://www.georgiawildlife.org/content/protectedbirds.asp. Georgia Secretary of State. 2008. Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia. Accessed 25 August 2009. http://rules.sos.state.ga.us/cgibin/page.cgi?g=GEORGIA_DEPARTMENT_OF_NATURAL_RESOURCES%2FWILDLIFE_RESOURCES_D IVISION%2FPROTECTION_OF_ENDANGERED__THREATENED__RARE__OR_UNUSUAL_SPECIES%2 Findex.html&d=1. Musgrave, R.S., Flynn-O’Brien, Lambert, P.A., Smith, A.A., and Marinakis, Y.D., eds. 1998. Federal wildlife laws handbook with related laws. Rockville, Maryland: Government Institutes, Inc. National Parks Service. 2004. The Tamarisk http://www.nps.gov/archive/whsa/tamarisk.htm.

Invasion.

Accessed

04

September

2009.

SERCC (Southeast Regional Climate Center). 2007. Fernandina Beach, Florida-Climate Summary. Accessed 06 September 2009. http://www.sercc.com/cgi-bin/sercc/cliMAIN.pl?fl2944. Ted Bodner. 2005. Southern Weed Science Society. Eastern Baccharis photo. Accessed 09 September 2009. http:// Bugwood.org. USDA Natural resource Conservation Service (NRCS). 2006. Plant Fact Sheet: Eastern Baccharis. Prepared by C. Miller and W. Skaradek. Accessed 08 September 2009. http://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_baha.pdf. USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). 2008. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Accessed 03 September 2009. http://plants.usda.gov. USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). 2009. Species Reports. Accessed 12 September 2009. http://ecos.fws.gov/tess_public/pub/stateListingIndividual.jsp?state=GA&status=listed. USFWS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). 2009. Digest of Federal Resource Laws. Accessed 11 September 2009. http://www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/resourcelaws.htm. *All maps obtained from Google Earth© online database and are for illustrative purposes only. Distribution is not authorized.

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Kings Bay 2010  

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