Coastal Waterbird Program — Policy Development

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Least Tern Chick
Least tern chick © Jon Van DeGraaff

The Coastal Waterbird Program was founded as a result of the Federal and State listing of the Piping Plover in 1986 under the Endangered Species Acts. Since then, the program has advocated for the protection of Piping Plovers, terns, and other coastal birds.

In addition, the CWP has been instrumental in the development of state barrier beach management regulations, including the management of off-road vehicles.

Currently, we are actively participating in the development of a new management plan for the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Advocacy Priorities

  • Effective protection of listed coastal bird species
  • Science-based management strategies
  • Regional leadership in protecting nesting and migrating coastal birds


  • Mass Audubon’s summary statement outlining the standards by which we review and measure shorebird and beach management plans 
  • Our comments on the Cape Cod National Seashore’s Comprehensive Shorebird Management Plan 
  • Our comments on the Massachusetts Habitat Conservation Plan for Piping Plover 
  • Summary of the differences between the Cape Cod National Seashore Plan, the Massachusetts Habitat Conservation Plan, and the individual Habitat Conservation Plan granted to the Town of Orleans 
  • Our comments to the state regarding guidance on applying for a Conservation & Management Permit for recreational activities affecting the Least Tern