The Plover Watch

Welcome to the Plover Watch.
This is where you can come to find the latest information and updates on protected species management on the Town of Nantucket's beaches.  Please check back on a regular basis for updates on restrictions and closures.  The Town of Nantucket is required to manage protected species habitat in accordance with guidelines published by United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. 
Protection of Habitat
Symbolic fencing is required to protect nesting habitat for protected species.  This fencing is used to mark the start of use restrictions on the beaches and water area around this habitat.
  • Pedestrians are allowed up to the edge of the fencing.  Please walk as close to the waterline as possible.
  • All kites including kites for kiteboarding must maintain a 200 yard buffer to the edge of the fencing.
  • Vehicles including beach bikes must stay within marked vehicle corridors or observe any beach closures for vehicles.
  • All pets must be leashed.
Smiths Point Vehicle Access


Birds at Smith's Point are finishing up and we have been able to re-open a portion of the beach to vehicle access.  Please respect the fencing and signage that remains.  Thank you for your cooperation.

Update for the 4th of July

Nests have started hatching and some nests are still incubating at sites all over the island.  It looks like we are going to have a productive year (over 200 least tern nests on Smith's Point alone) and we want to make sure that is the case.  As you are making your plans for where you want to spend the Fourth of July weekend please use the chart and map below when deciding where you may want to go over the weekend.  Please observe the symbolic fencing and please keep your pets leashed.  Have a nice Fourth of July weekend!

ESP chart
Surfside Area Vehicle Closures for Protected Species
Piping Plovers and American oystercatchers have returned to Nantucket.  We have seen birds courting and scraping on our beaches.  Scraping is when the male bird will create a cup like divot in the sand to demonstrate his nest building skills to attract females.  After they mate they will select a scrape and lay eggs in that scrape right on the beach.  If you see a piping plover in an area without symbolic fencing please contact the Natural Resources and we can evaluate if protective measures need to go in place.  Thank you for your assistance.

American oystercatcher


Piping plover