Bruce Rowland is a birder who volunteers with the Piping Plover program organized by Audubon Great Lakes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  He shared his PowerPoint slide show about the project.
The Great Lakes Piping Plover Stewardship Program was established by Audubon Great Lakes in 2022.  Working at a pop-up site in the Park, program volunteers share information about Piping Plovers and protection efforts.  A number of parties collaborate in protecting the plovers, including state and federal agencies, three universities and the Detroit Zoo.
There are three breeding populations of Piping Plovers--the Great Plains, Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes (the smallest).  The plovers arrive back in Michigan in mid-April and establish their nests, which are nothing more than scrapes in the sand adorned with debris from vegetation and beach pebbles. The male and female are equal opportunity incubators, changing shifts every four hours.  The result is usually four eggs.
As their small numbers would suggest, Piping Plovers face several threats to survival, the most serious being the loss of habitat.  In addition, predators include all sorts of mammals and birds, with most threats being to chicks.  To protect the eggs and chicks volunteers place "exclosures" over the nests--allowing adult plovers to come and go but blocking most predators.  If a nest is abandoned by one or both parents, volunteers scoop up the chicks or eggs and take them to the University of Michigan Biological Station, where the Detroit Zoo manages a captive-rearing facility.
In 2022 there were 72 pairs of Piping Plovers in the Great Lakes, 48 of which were in Michigan.  The fledge rate was 2.08 chicks per pair.  Within the Park most of the plover nests are at the Manitou Islands, but nests can also be found at the beaches at Platte Point, Tiesma Road and Peterson Road.