Great Lakes Piping Plovers
Since 1986 when the Great Lakes Piping Plover (GLPIPL) population was listed as federally endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), a team of agencies, organizations and individuals have worked together to bring them back from the brink of extirpation. Historically, approximately 500 - 800 piping plover pairs nested throughout the Great Lakes but by 1990 had declined to about a dozen pairs, all in Northern Michigan. By 2000, the breeding population increased to 30 nesting pairs. In 2015 and 2016, there were 75 nests - a record high since Piping Plovers were listed under the ESA, though the population has dropped slightly in 2019 and 2020 due mostly to high water and storm events.
Several actions on the part of the Great lakes Piping Plover Conservation Team have contributed to the increase in Piping Plover breeding success: Frequent nest monitoring, protecting nests with exclosures, non-breeding-season observers, habitat protection, salvage captive-rearing, predator control, banding and research have all played roles in increasing protection of Piping Plovers.
Although the recovery effort is organized and coordinated by US Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies, it really comes down to many very dedicated individuals who care deeply about Piping Plovers and their Great Lakes home. Learn more about the individual people that are currently working on the project and doing conservation work for piping plovers on the "About Us" tab.