Duxbury has offered a 100% rebate for people who bought beach stickers for a beach with limited access because of 18 nests of a threatened migratory bird–the eastern piping plover. The town has had to make partial closures in previous years, but this year, because of the location of four of the nests, the town has closed all three of its “crossovers” from the road to the outer beach.
The section of beach close to the Powder Point Bridge remains open.
Selectmen met Monday night with one item on the agenda – the beach, and nearly 100 people attended. Some had objected to paying for beach stickers. New Town Manager Rene Reed began the meeting saying anyone willing to turn in their sticker would get a full refund.
Some proposed opening a fourth crossover. Maggie Hearny, president of the Duxbury Beach Reservation, objected. She said part of the Reservation’s responsibility is to preserve the integrity of the barrier beach to protect Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth and cutting a fourth crossover would threaten that integrity. The Reservation, a private non-profit organization, owns the beach and leases it to Duxbury.
Scott Melvin, chief zoologist for the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the group the birds hadn’t singled out Duxbury, that they nest all along the Massachusetts shore. They closed Plymouth Beach most of last summer and closure there began June 4 this year.
Massachusetts has the largest population of eastern piping plovers at approximately 1,600. The state and federal governments classify the bird as rare in Massachusetts and threatened, not endangered, as a species.