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Delaware Bay Beach Closure Information

In order to protect a rapidly declining population of migrating shorebirds that stop over each spring on Delaware Bay beaches to feed on the fat-rich eggs of the horseshoe crab, DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell issued an emergency order on April 30, 2003, restricting the horseshoe crab harvest. The commissioner also announced plans to limit access to certain portions of Delaware Bay beaches where horseshoe crabs are known to spawn and where shorebirds traditionally feed.

On May 17 and 18 and May 24 to June 1, DEP staff will limit access at portions of specific beaches in the Villas, as well as portions of Reeds Beach, Cook's Beach, Kimbles Beach, Norbury's Landing, Pierces Point, Sunray Beach and Raybins Beach. These are important shorebird feeding areas and limiting access will minimize human disturbance of the shorebirds while they feed.

The affected sections of beach in Lower, Middle and Downe townships will be closed only for 11 days. The beach restrictions coincide with the new and full moons, when horseshoe crab spawning and shorebird feeding are at their peak.

The closed areas will be marked with printed signs and rope fencing from the street end to the water's edge. DEP staff will be present to educate the public about the interaction between the shorebirds and horseshoe crabs and the need to let the birds feed undisturbed.

Maps indicating the closed areas are available below. Closed areas are indicated with a red line.

Fortescue Area (jpg, 147kb)
Middle Peninsula Area (jpg, 112kb)
Lower Peninsula Area (jpg, 138kb)
All 3 areas (pdf, 411kb)
Delaware Bay Shorebirds brochure (has directions to viewing areas) (pdf, 425kb)
DEP Commissioner Orders Horseshoe Crab Harvest Cut in Half 4/30/03 DEP News Release

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