Threatened and Endangered Species

Seabeach Amaranth, a federally threatened annual plant species.

Since 1986, Fire Island National Seashore - together with federal, state, and local agencies, volunteers, and private organizations - has been preserving and monitoring critical habitats and open spaces for the protection of threatened and endangered shorebirds and coastal plants.


Two federally listed threatened and endangered (T & E) bird species are known to nest within Fire Island National Seashore. The piping plover (Charadrius melodus) is on the federal threatened and New York State endangered list. The roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) is federally and state endangered.

The state-listed threatened least tern (Sternula antillarum) and the common tern (Sterna hirundo) also nest on Fire Island. The black skimmer (Rhynchops niger) and the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) are bird species of special concern in New York State.

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was officially removed from the federally threatened list on August 8, 2007. Eagles continue to be protected by the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Bald eagles are occasionally sighted on Fire Island and have nested recently at the William Floyd Estate, a unit of the Seashore located in Mastic Beach on Long Island.


Fire Island National Seashore's piping plover monitoring and protection program begins in March with a restriction on driving, pets and kites on portions of the beach. Symbolic fencing is installed to mark suitable plover habitat.

As nests are established, exclosures are constructed to protect both nest and eggs. After the chicks have fledged, restrictions on pets and kites are lifted, but the symbolic fencing is left in place for the protection of beach plants.

Help Protect Threatened and Endangered Species

  • Respect fenced areas and stay clear of bird nesting areas.
  • Where they are permitted, always keep dogs leashed.
  • Take the #FireIslandPledge.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Of more than 30 species of reptiles (turtles and snakes) and amphibians (frogs, toads and salamanders) known to live within or visit Fire Island National Seashore, five are listed as New York State endangered species or species of special concern,

  • Eastern Mud Turtle (historically common; now uncommon; NY State endangered species)
  • Spotted Turtle (historically common; now uncommon; NY State species of special concern)
  • Eastern Box Turtle (common; NY State species of special concern)
  • Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (historically abundant; now rare; NY State species of special concern)
  • Southern Leopard Frog (historically abundant; now extirpated; NY State species of special concern)
Threatened and endangered sea turtles and marine mammals occasionally visit Fire Island.


The seabeach amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus) is a federally threatened annual plant species that grows on some of Fire Island National Seashore's beaches. Symbolic fencing is also installed for the protection of seabeach amaranth on the beach.

The seabeach knotweed (Polygonum glaucum) is a New York State rare plant that can be found on Fire Island.


Stranded Marine Animals

Occasionally, a threatened or endangered species will wash ashore, where it may be rescued or recovered by the Riverhead Foundation, one of Fire Island National Seashore's partner organizations. Cold-stunned sea turtles are particularly vulnerable.

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation
24-hour Stranding Hotline 631-369-9829

Last updated: May 2, 2018

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Patchogue , NY 11772



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