Colonial Nesting Islands Need Our Help!
16th Annual Monofilament Clean Up on October 17, 2009
The Sixteenth Annual Monofilament Cleanup Day, sponsored by Tampa Bay Watch and Audubon of Florida, will take place on Saturday, October 17th. Each year, thousands of feet of fishing line becomes entangled on Tampa Bay's colonial bird nesting islands and shorelines and pose a fatal hazard to birds and other wildlife. This cleanup event helps to reduce the threat of entanglement while recycling the fishing line.
A wide variety of birds are affected by fishing line, including those that nest in trees (pelicans, cormorants, anhingas, herons and egrets, ibis, spoonbills, etc.) and others that nest on the ground (gulls, terns, skimmers, and oystercatchers).
Tampa Bay and the Gulf coast are home to some of the most important bird nesting colonies in the state of Florida. Audubon of Florida's Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries Program monitors 50,000 breeding pairs of birds of over 30 different species; many of these species are listed by the State of Florida as "Threatened" or "Species of Special Concern." One species, the wood stork, is federally listed as "Endangered." Although many of the nesting and roosting sites are protected or closed to the public, monofilament fishing line often accumulates in these areas and birds unnecessarily die. If the monofilament enters the water, it can indiscriminately kill fish, dolphins and manatees as well.
The monofilament clean up is scheduled during the fall only, outside of the main colonial waterbird nesting season for this part of Florida. Because the colonial islands are generally closed to the public, it is important that volunteers do not disturb nesting birds and contact Audubon of Florida (813-623-6826) or Tampa Bay Watch (727-867-8166) before cleaning a site to make sure they have permission to enter. It is also important for the public to understand that entering the colony islands at other times of the year may impact nesting birds, inadvertently causing injury and/or death of the chicks.
This project provides volunteers with equipment and data sheets for removing and documenting monofilament found at assigned clean up locations. Additionally, volunteers are instructed on how to free entangled live birds they may encounter during the cleanup and where to transport the injured bird.
Please contact Kevin Misiewicz at 727-867-8166 and email@example.com or Mark Rachal at 813-623-6826 and firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about the Monofilament Clean Up.
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