The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the red knot as a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2005 (USFWS 2010). Threats & Conservation: As the main food resource for northward migrating red knots in the western hemisphere, threats to the abundance and quality of eggs from Delaware horseshoe crab populations have lead to negative impacts on bird populations (Niles et al. 2008). These effects possibly include delayed recovery time during the migratory stopover and diminished reproductive capacity once the birds reach their breeding grounds. Delaware has taken several steps in recent years to combat these potential threats to migrating red knots, including beach closures to quell human disturbances, exclosures to reduce competition from gulls, harvest restrictions to improve horseshoe crab populations, and the designation of a sanctuary at the mouth of Delaware Bay.In Florida, wintering red knot populations are potentially threatened by human disturbances that alter beach topography, including shoreline hardening, dredging, deposition and raking from beach nourishment programs (Niles et al. 2008). Although these activities require permitting, the exact locations and degrees of beach alteration are rarely documented. Also lacking are data concerning the effects of these actions on local shorebird populations, although the impacts are thought to be significant. Some management efforts have been made to protect Florida red knot populations from human disturbance by limiting or excluding access to roosting sites, including those at Shell Key and Caladesi Island State Park in Pinellas County, Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Manatee County, Merritt Island NWR and Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County, and Ding Darling NWR in Lee County (Niles et al. 2008). Calls have been made for more active restoration efforts for red knots in the state, including banding wintering birds, collecting biometric and genetic data, and surveying previously banded individuals to determine migration patterns and survivorship.
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