Lawsuit to Protect Piping Plovers at Jones Beach Will Proceed

Federal Judge Finds “Plausible Harm” to Threatened Birds From Cat Colonies

Contact: Jennifer Howard, Director of Public Relations, 202-888-7472

Piping Plovers are threatened by the ongoing presence of feral cats at Jones Beach.

(Washington, D.C., Feb. 10, 2017) A federal judge has ruled that American Bird Conservancy (ABC) may proceed with its lawsuit against the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (Parks Office) over feral cat colonies at Jones Beach, N.Y. In a ruling issued earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Arthur Spatt denied a motion to dismiss the case, finding that ABC's allegations “support an inference of plausible harm to the survival of the Jones Beach Piping Plovers.”

“ABC is very pleased that the Court denied the state's motion to dismiss the complaint,” said Grant Sizemore, Director of ABC's Invasive Species Programs. “Our complaint is solid, and we look forward to having the opportunity to prove our case.”

ABC filed the lawsuit in March 2016 against the Parks Office over the cats' continued presence at Jones Beach. The cat colonies exist in close proximity to the nesting sites of Piping Plovers, a species listed as "Threatened" in the Atlantic Coast region under the Endangered Species Act. New York State's own Endangered and Threatened Species Regulations list the species as “Endangered.”

ABC is represented in the case by lawyers from Goodwin.


American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.