Audobon Society Wants More Protection For Least Terns

Harrison County will work with the Coast Audubon Society to protect the least terns that nest on the beach.

Society President Jan Dubuisson told the county supervisors that the bird population in six nesting colonies is shrinking, and many birds and eggs were lost during last summer's heavy rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Alison.

Dubuisson says people ignore the warning signs to keep out of the nesting areas. She wants the county to build a sand barrier and fencing around the two main colonies near the Seashore Methodist Assembly in Biloxi and near Hewes Avenue in Gulfport and put fencing around the other areas in Long Beach and Pass Christian.

"We realize this is a dramatic increase in protection, and that there are constituents who will vehemently oppose this plan," Dubuisson said. "But we feel these measures are necessary for this one year to help stabilize a fast dwindling population of the birds."

The supervisors instructed Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver to work with the Audubon Society to take whatever steps are necessary to protect the birds. The board approved the society's request as long as the upland land owners are notified and allowed to speak out on the fencing plans.