Main content area

Perceptions of Caucasian users about avian resources and beach restoration following hurricane Sandy

Burger, Joanna, Tsipoura, Nellie, Simnor, April, Pittfield, Taryn, Jeitner, Christian, Mizrahi, David, Niles, Larry, Ferguson, Lisa
Urban ecosystems 2017 v.20 no.2 pp. 363-373
aesthetics, beaches, bicycling, boating, dogs, dunes, ecosystems, endangered species, flood control, habitats, human communities, human health, hurricanes, marshes, migratory birds, urban areas, walking, New Jersey
Hurricane Sandy resulted in massive destruction of many coastal ecological and human communities in the Northeastern United States in 2012. Beach-nesting and migrating birds are vulnerable to loss of essential habitat as a result of storms. In this paper we report the perceptions of beach users about avian use of the beaches, conservation measures to protect birds, and recent restoration efforts at Stone Harbor Point (New Jersey) to provide beach habitat for birds. Nearly all the visitors to the beach were Caucasian (N = 555), and reported their activity as walking (93 %), birding (19 %), biking (7 %), and lounging, boating, fishing or photographing (5 % or less for each). Visitors mainly came to this beach because of aesthetics, exercise, and vacation or to visit friends. Subjects rated protecting endangered species and the environment, restoring the beach, and designating off-limit areas to protect birds the highest. They rated conservation measures for birds the highest, and allowing dogs on the beach and providing more opportunities for jogging the lowest. The results suggest that protecting endangered species and habitat for nesting birds is a slightly higher goal than restoring dunes and marshes for flood control, which provides evidence for public support of restoration projects that protect both ecological and human communities. Providing more space for their own recreational activities was rated much lower, again supporting community good over personal uses. This information supports the restoration efforts following Sandy, and the importance of restoration projects that integrate ecological and human health goals in urban environments.