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What is Vegetation Management?

Managing native and exotic beach vegetation is a tool used to create the conditions conducive to successful nesting of imperiled beach-nesting birds, such as the American oystercatcher, least tern, snowy plover, and black skimmer. These species typically nest in open, sandy areas with little vegetative cover.

Vegetation management can be used to create new, suitable habitat or improve conditions for beach-nesting birds on currently or historically used beaches. Techniques may include manual removal or mechanical removal of vegetation and herbicide application.

How is the FWC involved in vegetation management?

Vegetation management is a complex topic that requires understanding differing biological requirements of beach-nesting birds and other beach-dependent wildlife and the dynamics of beach processes, then evaluating appropriateness of different techniques at each potential management location. In addition, state and local policies protecting beach vegetation and coastal systems must be followed and permits may be required. The FWC provides a basis for bringing policy and process together.

The FWC is currently developing a white paper to outline the current research on vegetation management and the considerations for identifying suitable areas. This will be used as a tool to facilitate coordination among agencies and partners to permit and conduct vegetation management in locations where it would be most beneficial to shorebirds while having the least impact on the beach dune system and other wildlife. More information about this effort will be added to this page as it becomes available.