Senator Carper, Fish and Wildlife Service & DNREC Highlight Threatened Red Knot Recovery Plan in Delaware

Standing inside the DuPont Nature Center, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Kyla Hastie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Regional Director, and Shawn Garvin, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary, today discussed the federal, state, and local recovery plan for threatened red knots, one of the longest-distance migrants in the animal kingdom that travel the globe. The red knot relies on the Delaware Bay as a critical stopover when making their journey from the southern tip of South America to their breeding grounds in the Arctic.

In April, the Service released the final recovery plan for the red knot, outlining objective, measurable criteria for removing the species from the threatened-and-endangered list, and site-specific actions managers can take to help us move toward this goal. Conservation partners are already working to advance the species’ recovery across its range, including in Delaware, where biologists and volunteers for Delaware Department of Natural Resources conduct surveys for red knots on bayshore beaches throughout the month of May. 

“We have a moral obligation to take care of our planet and the wildlife we share it with, including red knots.” said Senator Tom Carper. “As climate change continues to imperil important habitat along the red knots’ migration route, it is our shared responsibility to conserve Delaware’s natural beauty, which attracts more than wildlife. Tourism in Delaware, including birding and other nature activities, contributes nearly $4 billion to our economy annually. It’s a win-win when we work together to protect our natural resources like our red knots.”

“Recovering a species with such a vast range can be achieved only through coordinated conservation efforts with others who share a commitment to this goal, and our partners in Delaware are essential for ensuring a future for the rufa red knot,” said Kyla Hastie, Acting Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeast Region. “The final recovery plan is in important milestone for this species and a testament to the value of the Endangered Species Act, which turns 50 this year, as a lifeline for species on the brink.”

“Since 1997, the dedicated team of staff and volunteers that comprise the DNREC Shorebird Project has worked to mitigate declining shorebird populations, including the rufa red knot, through research, monitoring, habitat protection and management planning,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Today, we will move forward in partnership with our U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service colleagues to put their recovery plan for rufa red knots into action.”

“Each year the Delaware Bayshore is entrusted with a pivotal role in a global relay full of pageantry, drama, and stakes that are truly life or death,” said Jeff Gordon, former President of the American Birding Association. “It is up to us to safeguard and pass on this eternal flame so it may burn brightly for all those to come.”