Another agreement was reached this spring to promote common efforts that conserve habitat used by the interior Least Tern and Piping Plover in Nebraska.
memorandum of understanding was enacted to "recognize the importance of
taking cooperative, proactive actions to manage" both bird species at
sand and gravel operations along the lower Platte River near Ashland,
Fremont, and Louisville.
Parties which signed the memorandum in
April include Western Sand and Gravel Company, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership (TPCP)
and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
The company, which
removes sand from the floodplain that creates open flat areas of sand
used for nesting by both birds, agreed to two items: 1) "discourage
nesting in work areas" by creating mounds rather than flat open areas
preferred by the birds for breeding activities, in order to discourage
any nests being located in work or travel areas; 2) "improve nesting
habitat" based upon recommendations provided by TPCP project site
representatives. Any work of this type would be done at company expense.
"partnership" had two items of responsibility: 1) monitor nesting
activity, by notifying the company when they would visit a minimum of 48
hours prior to arrival, and checking in with site supervisor's upon
arrival. The company would allow the TPCP workers to "install warning
signs and predator exclusion cages as deemed necessary."
item of this section of the memorandum, is that the TPCP would respond
to any company "requests for information" within 24 hours.
Responsibilities of the Fish and Wildlife Service, and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission would be to:
"Provide technical support and counsel" ... "in accordance with state
and federal regulations" including the Endangered Species Act as well as
state statues pertaining to threatened and endangered species.
"Regularly monitor tern and plover activity" as "one or more
representatives from TPCP, NGPC, or USFWS may be directly engaged in
monitoring birds" at a site; "The TPCP shall keep all of the parties
informed about Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover locations and
3) "Coordinate with the TPCP" with the coordination
ensuring that an annual report is prepared by the TPCP and distributed
to all parties, "summarizing results of the annual monitoring and any
recommended modifications to sand and gravel operations. Any
modifications must be prepared in writing ..."
The memorandums of
understanding are "a success in establishing a shared concern for the
Least Tern and Piping Plover based upon particular perspectives," said
Robert Harms, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service. "Through
collaboration we worked together with mutual respect and an
understanding of common goals," to conform to legal requirements and
promote conservation of these birds.
The latest agreement took affect upon "signature of all parties" which occurred in April, and early May, 2012.
is the third "memorandum of understanding" for sand and gravel
operations along the lower Platte River from near Fremont to Louisville.
Previous agreements were reached with Lyman Richey Company and Mallard
Sand and Gravel (a.k.a. Oldcastle Materials Group), said Harms. Each MOU
was agreement to promote breeding habitat for both species that will
help ensure their conservation.
The agreements can be terminated
at any time, once a signatory to the memorandum indicates their intent
to withdraw by sending letters to the others that were part of the
agreement, according to the memorandum with Western Sand and Gravel
The interior Least Tern is classified as an endangered
species, with the belted Piping Plover classified as endangered under
criteria of the federal Endangered Species Act.