EAI’s Niki Desjardin has been named the coordinator for the Treasure Coast Shorebird Partnership. As a coastal project manager, Niki has seen considerable overlap between the conservation needs of sea turtles and shorebirds. She uses this experience and expertise to educate beach-goers about our impact on coastal wildlife. She is especially interested in educating people about the impacts that lighting, beach holes, and monofilament have on sea turtles and shorebirds.
Shorebirds and seabirds face many challenges in Florida and protecting them is no small task. The Florida coastline stretches nearly 1,200 miles and has 13 million people living on or near the coast. Another 50 million vacationers visit Florida’s beaches annually. Because of widespread coastal development and intense human use, Florida’s shorebirds and seabirds are experiencing significant declines in suitable habitat for nesting and feeding. Native coastal habitat is now largely confined to public lands and even within these areas protected from development, shorebirds and seabirds must regularly contend with human-related challenges, including trash, pets, and foot traffic. Due to these pressures, some of Florida’s imperiled shorebirds and seabirds are dependent on human management for survival. If they are not actively protected, their populations may not thrive into the future.
Fortunately, there are many dedicated organizations and individuals throughout the state diligently working to protect Florida’s diversity of shorebirds and seabirds. Realizing the conservation and management of these species is beyond the reach of any one agency or organization, a network of local partnerships was created in 2009 to make the most of limited resources. The partnerships are comprised of individuals and groups from the public, the private sector, and a wide range of government agencies.
By linking these partnerships and forming a statewide network, the Florida Shorebird Alliance (FSA) facilitates increased information exchange, better coordination of effort, and more consistency in monitoring and management on the statewide scale. The FSA is comprised of 12 local and regional partnerships around the state. Partnerships meet regularly to coordinate monitoring and management efforts to ensure important sites within their respective areas are adequately protected. Our partners are very diverse and include concerned citizens, professional biologists and land managers, non-government organizations, businesses, and government agencies.