Fort De Soto Park (Pinellas County, Florida) encompasses several barrier islands and is accessible to the public by road. Over 32 ha of beach are closed to the general public to allow birds to nest, loaf, and forage without human disturbance. The objective of this study was to use video monitoring of the closed area to determine when intrusions into the protected area occurred and to see if publicizing that the area is being video monitored increased compliance. We randomly chose 400 hours of daylight video from April through August, 2013, to determine the number of intruders. In the middle of the peak nesting season (July 2) we placed signs informing the public that they were being monitored. During the 349 hours where video quality was high, we had 27 hours where at least one intruder entered the area and 144 intruders total. Most of the intrusions were in the evening (1600–1900), during low tide, and on days with higher attendance. Signage communicating video recording of the bird sanctuary led to a strong negative impact on intrusion and was statistically significant (P = 0.01). The combination of using video cameras and signs informing the public about the video cameras was a highly effective method of reducing the number of people entering a closed portion of beach.
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Vol. 36 • No. 2