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This year's shorebird work began with the arrival of Clive Minton, Doris Graham and Dick Veitch, and a meeting deciding the course of this year's work. With the alarming decline in weights of the last two seasons that parallels the declining availability of horseshoe crab eggs, we are firmly decided on a rigorous campaign to collect as much data as is possible. Our overall goal will be to maintain a constant surveillance of birds and bird weights through two bird-banding projects, one led by Clive and another by David Mizrahi, who is focusing on just semipalmated sandpipers.

A big part of our program will be to include volunteers in all of our work. Through the Endangered and Nongame Species Program's Citizen Scientist Program we have created a new system for supporting shorebird volunteers. With insurance coverage provided by the Division's Wildlife Conservation Corps, our volunteers will be gradually trained by biologists to accomplish increasingly complex wildlife projects. But they can start with projects like the shorebird project where they will be supervised by trained biologists at all times.

Preliminarily, we have also determined a rough schedule for the ground count on May 22, and a general coordination of the professionals that will be arriving during the trapping period. Clive, Kathy and I will present papers at the Wader Study Group meeting held on May 12th, so there was considerable discussion of the content of those papers.

Lawrence J. Niles, PhD
Chief, NJ Endangered Species Program

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