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Barnstable moves July 4 fireworks show to Labor Day weekend to protect endangered birds

The Fourth of July fireworks show in Barnstable on Cape Cod has been rescheduled until Labor Day weekend to protect the nesting ground of endangered shorebirds, including piping plovers, town officials said.

The barge where the fireworks are set off is too close to Smith Point in Lewis Bay, where the plovers and least terns nest in spring and summer months, the town said in a statement Thursday.

The fireworks show will take place on Sept. 3, 2022, when nesting is no longer a concern, the town said.

The change settles an issue first raised last Fourth of July by state wildlife officials and other environmental groups that changes to the landform in Lewis Bay have put the barge too close to nesting grounds.


Great Island has shifted north since 2009 and Smith Point has developed enough to house the endangered birds for them to nest.

The town was asked by MassWildlife to cancel last Fourth of July’s show, due to the noise and close proximity to the plovers and terns. But they were unable to postpone as explosives were already on the barge, town officials said.

Last year’s display was documented as a violation of the Endangered Species Act, and the town was advised to move the display away from Smith Point and the Kalmus Beach to comply, the statement said.

However, there was no other viable location for the barge in Lewis Bay, so the show had to be rescheduled, the statement said.

Madison Mercado can be reached at madison.mercado@globe.com.