St. Simons Island Wood Stork Colony Protection Plan
Sea Island Company
Pandion is conducting an ongoing study of a 50-acre colony of nesting endangered Wood Storks (Mycteria americana) in a new residential development on St. Simons Island, Georgia.
We have performed natural resources studies, hydrologic modeling, watershed assessments, and evaluations of biological requirements for nesting success as well as for management zones and buffers around the colony. This includes creating GIS maps of habitat and hydrologic conditions based on field studies and remote sensing data.
Through extensive research and risk assessment, we found that the proposed development design would not cause incidental take of Wood Storks. Thus, a Habitat Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment were not required. Pandion instead prepared portions of a Wood Stork Colony Protection Plan as a proposal to amend the company's existing Wood Stork Colony Restoration Plan agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Hydrologic Monitoring (2000 - Ongoing)
Pandion designed, installed, and maintains a shallow groundwater monitoring network of 12 wells equipped with electrosonic water level recorders to investigate shallow groundwater dynamics in the 50-acre Wood Stork colony wetland. Hydrologic analyses of long-term rainfall and nesting success were completed to characterize hydrologic conditions that are necessary for successful nesting, both at the Sea Island colony and for the regional Wood Stork population. The results were integrated into estimates of incidental take for this endangered species.
Vegetation Management Plan for Wood Stork Colony (2001 - 2002)
Pandion designed a vegetative management plan for control of invasive native species in a Wood Stork colony on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Native invasive species had invaded the colony and presented a risk to nesting success by facilitating raccoon predation. Both chemical control and mechanical control plan alternatives were developed. Consultation with USFWS resulted in approval of the mechanical control plan. This plan is being used to prevent predation of nests.
Education Plan and Video (2005 - 2007)
To ensure compliance with the Wood Stork Colony Protection Measures, Pandion wrote an education plan, produced a video, and created educational materials. These materials are targeted at construction workers, homeowners, and realtors.
The video combines photography with messages delivered by Sea Island staff to emphasize the beauty and rarity of Wood Storks and the measures needed to protect them. Sea Island also wanted this video to act as a marketing tool, and thus marketing messages were worked into the script. A printed flyer in English and Spanish accompanies the video.
Messages include Wood Stork biology and protection status, no entrance into the primary zone, development design standards and covenants in the secondary zone, and compatible coexistence with Wood Storks through conservation and management.
Noise Risk Assessment (2005)
To address the potentially disturbing effects of residential construction noises on nesting Wood Storks, Pandion designed and conducted a noise risk assessment study. The purpose of the risk assessment was to quantitatively evaluate how residential construction-related noise would travel through the primary buffer zone of forested vegetation surrounding the colony and nesting areas. It would determine what the likely exposure and effects would be to Wood Storks nesting in the colony.
Our team generated noise from seven representative residential construction equipment pieces and monitored sound levels individually and in symphony. We also measured ambient noise. Noises from these different pieces of equipment were monitored at 80-, 200-, and 500-foot distances from the noise source.
The final report on the noise risk assessment study was submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in consideration of the proposal to amend the Wood Stork Colony Restoration Plan.
James Newman, PhD
Christian Newman, MS
Crissy Sutter, MS
Greg Forcey, PhD
Period of Performance
2000 to current
Georgia Coastal Barrier Island