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MA Piping Plover Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)

A plan to advance conservation and recovery in Massachusetts while maintaining and improving public access, recreation and economic activities associated with the state's beaches.

Conservation of Piping Plovers

The Piping Plover is a state and federally Threatened shorebird that nests on Massachusetts Beaches.

Piping Plover, Threatened.
Piping Plover, Threatened. Photo by Bill Byrne, MassWildlife

As recently as 1986, there were only 140 breeding pairs of Piping Plover in Massachusetts. Even after population increases during the last 3 decades, the global plover population is less than 10,000 adults. That's less than the number of people that might be at one popular beach on a hazy August afternoon.

Massachusetts is a leader in Piping Plover conservation thanks to the conservation actions of beach managers and landowners. Our population has increased in recent decades, and we now have close to 700 breeding pairs.

In recognition of this ongoing recovery and conservation success, MassWildlife worked with a variety of stakeholders from coastal communities and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to develop the MA Habitat Conservation Plan for Piping Plovers (HCP). The HCP was approved by the USFWS in July 2016.

The HCP:

  • Advances Piping Plover conservation through a variety of conservation actions that plan participants will be required to undertake
  • Maintains and improves public access, recreational opportunities, and economic activity associated with the state’s beaches
  • Streamlines the state and federal permitting process

Additional Resources

Learn more

plover magazine cover

Want to know more about MassWildlife's role on Piping Plover conservation? Read "Success on the Sand" an article that appeared in Massachusetts Wildlife magazine in 2016.

Resources for Applicants and COI-Holders

Contact for MA Piping Plover Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)

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