Press Releases

DEEP News Release Header


DEEP Reminds Municipalities and Beach Associations of Seasonal Prohibitions on Beach Grading and Raking

(HARTFORD)-- As the summer beach season approaches, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) reminds municipalities and associations that manage beach properties of seasonal prohibitions on beach grading and raking that are important for wildlife conservation. 

Per the conditions of the General Permit issued by DEEP to organizations that conduct coastal maintenance, any beach raking activity which uses motorized equipment or employs implements which penetrate the surface of the sand by more than two inches is prohibited between May 10th and July 15th, inclusive, to protect spawning horseshoe crabs. In addition, all beach grading work is prohibited between April 1st and September 15th, inclusive, to protect spawning horseshoe crabs as well as nesting and migrating shorebirds such as piping plovers.

Horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) are a marine arthropod commonly referred to as a “living fossil” as they have existed largely unchanged for approximately 450 million years. Horseshoe crabs spawn in May-early July by crawling out of the water on to coastal beaches and laying eggs in nests buried in the sand. Larvae hatch within 2-4 weeks of egg-laying and are washed back out to sea. Long Island Sound horseshoe crab populations are currently depleted and were declared in “poor” condition by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) in 2019. Avoiding disturbances to coastal beaches during the critical spring spawning period is important to ensuring horseshoe crabs can successfully reproduce.

Piping plover (Charadrius melodus) are a critically endangered shorebird that were previously found in abundance along much of the Atlantic coast before their populations were decimated by hunting and habitat loss starting in the late 1800s. Piping plovers nest on Connecticut coastal beaches starting in late March, and adult birds and chicks remain on beaches through late summer. Avoiding beach disturbance during the critical spring-summer nesting and rearing period is important to ensuring reproductive success for this imperiled shorebird. 

For additional information, please consult the following resources:

Twitter: @CTDEEPNews
Facebook: DEEP on Facebook


DEEP Communications