Important Bird Areas

Grand Marais to Whitefish Point beaches (Piping Plover)

Michigan

55 miles of Lake Superior shoreline consisting of extensive sandy beach with sparse vegetation and pebbles.

Ornithological Summary

Supports part of a network of available breeding habitat for the endangered Great Lakes population of Piping Plovers.

Conservation Issues

Great Lakes Piping Plovers face many threats in the breeding areas limiting both survivorship of adults and young as well as fecundity, including:

1) Predation of adults and young by raptors (esp. Merlin), gulls, and mammals 2) Disturbance of incubation/trampling of eggs and nests by foot traffic and ORVs 3) Botulism poisoning of adults eating maggots from botulism-killed waterbirds washed up on beach

Cordoning off of the breeding territories and volunteer efforts of the Piping Plover patrol are now required long-term for the continued survival of this population. Avoiding burying botulism-killed waterbirds is necessary to prevent the occurrence of botulism infested maggots in the breeding areas.

Ownership

Varied ownership dominated by Michigan Department of Natural Resources (Newberry State Forest). Private and local ownership within Grand Marais and at smaller stretches of beach throughout.

Land Use

Beaches are used for dog walking, swimming, sunbathing, agate searching, and a variety of other recreational purposes. Few if any commercial or forestry-related uses.