Partiers and boaters down near Cape May have been using Champagne Island, home to nesting Royal Terns, Piping Plovers, and the largest Black Skimmer colony in NJ, as their personal bar and private beach.
Eyewitnesses have seen kids literally throwing Skimmer eggs into the water. NJ Audubon is stepping in. Here's a response from them:
We (NJAS/CMBO) have been in contact with state officials about Champagne Island. The situation is a muddy one because of uncertain ownership and jurisdiction. The island is geographically within three different municipalities at the moment, but may be partially or wholly within the jurisdiction of the state Tidelands Commission. The island is ephemeral, moves around Hereford Inlet with storms, and some years doesn’t even exist. The only certain enforcement authority with respect to the tern and skimmer colony at present lies with DEP’s Bureau of Law Enforcement Conservation Officers, who are able to write warnings or tickets only if visitors to the island take or attempt to take endangered or threatened species, as per the state endangered species statute. It is not illegal to land on the island. I spoke to the state Bureau of Law Enforcement today, and they are aware of the situation. Officers have been to the island and I was told they will continue to do what they can to protect the colony.