Budget cuts threaten Cape Cod ecology

By Aidan Connelly

The Cape Cod National Seashore has long been a prime area of natural beauty for Massachusetts. Its beaches take in around 4 million visitors annually and are home to the Piping Plover, a small-endangered bird that thrives on the Cape’s rocky sand.

For decades, National Park Service has protected these beaches but in the past several years’ budget cuts have hurt the ecology of such protected areas in Massachusetts.

“Some of the most popular beach access points have had to be closed for lack of maintenance, protection for wildlife such as the threatened Piping Plover has been reduced,” said Ben Hellerstein of Environment Massachusetts, a citizen based environmental advocacy organization. “And it’s really having an impact on communities out on the cape and the businesses that depend on tourists coming to the national seashore.”

This past January, Congress reversed the last three years worth of budget cuts, but an enormous backlog of deferred maintenance projects ensures that this fight is far from finished.

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