Strict regulations after Piping Plover's killed

The News Leader

July 21, 2010 1:18:57 PM PDT
Robert Moses State Park is enforcing regulations to keep Piping Plover chicks safe.

It's a popular pastime at Robert Moses State Park.

Every week, the Gomez family from Mastic loads up their truck and hits the beach to fish for striped bass in the shallow waters off Long Island's south shore.

Wednesday, they found their favorite fishing spot off limits, even though they paid for a permit, to drive there.

"My daughter and my two granddaughters come from Florida for a visit we bring them out to the beautiful beach that we have that we cant utilize," Betty Gomez said.

Authorities have shut down about 10% of the beach to 4x4's, in effort to protect the Piping Plover, which is an endangered species of bird.

The state sets up pens along the beach, where these bird are expected to nest and hatch.

But a week and a half ago, two chicks managed to jump out, and hopped along the beach, right into the path of a passing truck.

Park officials discovered the chicks crushed in the tire track of an SUV.

Now, federal authorities have required state workers to clamp down on some beach driving privileges in the area.

Avid fishermen still can get to their favorite spots, but they'll have to walk.

Tim Smith says he doesn't mind the exercise.

"If it keeps the bird population going I'm all right with it. I can share," Smith said.