Step Lightly on Florida Beaches
Well-motivated but not well informed volunteers sent out to clean debris from beaches may be disturbing nesting and other shorebirds. Volunteers eager to move beach litter above the high water line to make it easier to clean up oil that may come ashore are putting beach and marsh nesting birds at risk.
Some people are moving beach debris such as driftwood from the beach onto high-water areas. This is harmful as beach wildlife use naturally occurring beach debris near the water line and may be harmed when debris is piled in upland areas on or near their well camouflaged nests. Traffic in dune areas can also harm vegetation.
Safe Tips for Cleaning Litter off Beaches:
For those who want to clean litter from the beaches in anticipation of oil coming ashore, Audubon recommends the following:
- Use approved access points and avoid walking or hiking through marshes or seagrass beds.
- Stay below the tidal line.
- Leave natural debris in place because it provides nesting benefits to shorebirds and other wildlife.
- Only remove man-made litter.
- Do not place litter in the dunes or above the high water line.
- Don’t use equipment such as rakes, shovels or tractors.
- Do not bring ATVs or other motorized vehicles onto the beach.
- Do not bring dogs onto the beach (dogs are a primary sources of beach bird disturbance and mortality.)
- Respect posted areas and leave signs, posts and twine in place to protect beach nesting bird colonies.
You can take action in many ways:
1. Volunteer to rescue injured birds and to clean oil off Florida’s beaches and other coastal areas.
2. Sign the petition opposing state and federal plans to expand oil drilling in Florida’s water.
3. Contribute to our special fund to rescue birds injured by the oil spill and underwrite advocacy so this never happens again.
4. Recruit your friends and family to join Audubon’s response efforts.
Send us your photos and video of local habitats and wildlife
Audubon of Florida is urging everyone to step lightly on our beaches and follow safety tips if you are engaged in beach clean up activities.
You can also help by taking pictures and videos of the habitats and wildlife in your local communities. This local knowledge could become very useful as the oil spill evolves.
Follow these guidelines when documenting your coastal areas and wildlife and to send images to Audubon of Florida:
When photographing or filming
- Follow all Audubon safe tips for beach cleaning.
- Keep your distance from nesting grounds, marked areas, and resting birds. Do not flush birds.
- Use long range zooms to capture close up images.
Send your images, video or a notification of their availability to email@example.com.
- Identify the time, day, date and location that the image was taken, and use GPS coordinates if possible.
- Identify and clearly spell the name of the photographer/videographer and provide contact information, email, telephone and address.
- Clearly state whether Audubon may have the rights to reprint, publish in print and electronic vehicles, and share your images, providing proper credit.
- For large photo or video files, notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org that images are available and we will contact you with instructions for uploading them.
Note that Florida Audubon does not have a budget to pay for images but provides photo credit to the photographer/videographer.
Click Here for Florida updates from the Department of Environmental Protection.
Click Here for the most updated National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maps on the oil spill’s trajectory.
Click Here to visit the Deepwater Horizon central command.