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October DOS Monthly Meeting – “Horseshoe Crabs & Shorebirds”

October 18 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Banded Red Knot and Horseshoe Crabs at Bower's Beach Delaware By Kelley Nunn

Horseshoe Crab Management and Population Trends in the Delaware Bay Region 

with Jordan Zimmerman
The Delaware Bay Region has a long history of Horseshoe Crab harvest, dating back centuries.
Despite this lengthy history, formal coast-wide management of the species did not begin until
1998. Since 1998, management efforts have varied by state and have included emergency
moratoria, license rescissions, harvest limits, and seasonal and area closures. In 2012 the
Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commissions established the adaptive resource management
(ARM) framework which incorporates HSC and Shorebird data to select appropriate harvest
levels from a suite of options. This presentation will highlight the latest information about
management of the Delaware Bay horseshoe crab population.

Jordan Zimmerman is a Fisheries Biologist with the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife.
He serves as a member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Delaware Bay
Ecosystem Technical Committee and Horseshoe Crab Technical Committee, is lead author on
the annual “Delaware Bay Horseshoe Crab Spawning Report”, and has assisted/overseen the
Delaware Bay spawning survey for 17 years. A Delaware native, Jordan grew up in a farming
familyand graduated DSU with a masters degree in Fisheries Management. His interests include
waterfowl hunting, fishing, and coaching youth baseball.

Shorebirds and Mispillion Harbor

with Audrey DeRose-Wilson
Delaware Bay was the first site designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site of Hemispheric Importance in 1986 following the recognition that shorebird populations that used the Bay were in serious decline. Since then, Delaware has monitored migratory shorebirds to better understand the relationship between shorebirds and horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) in the Bay. Historically, Mispillion Harbor, in Delaware has had a superabundant supply of horseshoe crab eggs during the peak shorebird migration, and has therefore attracted large concentrations of red knots and other shorebirds that feed on eggs. Mispillion Harbor is the focus of recent beach renourishment and habitat management efforts, and so it is of importance to state managers to understand the role of this site for supporting migratory shorebirds. We are comparing the relative use of Mispillion before and after beach renourishment to assess how local site characteristics influence bird foraging behaviors and regional site use during stopover. This will lead to a better understanding of annual and among-species variation in stopover site use, and inform future management decisions in Delaware Bay.

Audrey DeRose-Wilson joined the Delaware Shorebird Project in 2016 as the Shorebird and
Marsh Bird Biologist. She comes to us from Virginia Tech’s Shorebird Program where she
served as the Project Leader for three years on Long Island, NY monitoring the response of
federally threatened Piping Plover populations to new habitat created by Hurricane Sandy and
the resulting beach restoration work. In 2012, she received a Master’s of Science in Fish and
Wildlife Conservation from Virginia Tech University for her work evaluating habitat use,
demographics, and the effects of military overflights on Wilson’s Plovers inhabiting barrier
islands in North Carolina. Audrey attended Michigan State University where she received her
Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology in 2009. While completing her undergrad, she also worked as a
research assistant on the Mara Hyena Project in Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya
monitoring spotted hyena behavior.

Featured Image: Red Knot and Horseshoe Crab at South Bowers Beach by Kelley Nunn


October 18
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Ashland Nature Center
3511 Barley Mill Rd
Hockessin, DE 19707 United States
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