‘Share the Beach’: Protect the threatened western snowy plover


Beachgoers are asked to help with recovery efforts of the threatened western snowy plover by respecting nesting areas and beach restrictions during nesting season, now through Sept. 15.

Photo by Adam Kotaich
Beachgoers are asked to help with recovery efforts of the threatened western snowy plover by respecting nesting areas and beach restrictions during nesting season, now through Sept. 15.



Beachgoers are urged to help recovery efforts of the threatened western snowy plover by respecting nesting areas and beach restrictions during nesting season, March 15 through Sept. 15, said a news release by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Signs and ropes will identify sensitive plover nesting areas and list restrictions, including dogs (even on a leash), vehicles, kites, drones, camping and fires.

"We're making great strides in reversing the downward slide of this species," said Cindy Burns, Siuslaw National Forest wildlife biologist. "But it takes all of us, so we urge people to do their part to understand nesting season rules and to share the beach this spring and summer."

These federally-protected shorebirds nest on open sand along Oregon's beaches. Nests, and especially chicks, are well-camouflaged. During nesting season, human disturbances can flush adult plovers away from their nests as they attempt to defend their young from the perceived predator. Left alone too long, eggs or chicks can die from exposure, predators or people.

Recreation restrictions occur in designated plover management areas, small stretches of beach along the entire coastline where plovers are nesting or could potentially nest. These areas collectively comprise about 40 miles of Oregon's 362 miles of shoreline. Detailed maps can be found on the Oregon State Parks website at bit.ly/wsplover.

On these plover beaches, the dry sand and dunes are closed to all access — except along official trails and on the wet sand — to protect eggs and chicks. Visitors may see roped off areas within these plover management areas, which serve to protect the most sensitive habitat; however, all dry sand on both sides of the rope is closed. Wet sand areas on plover beaches remain open to foot and equestrian traffic. All other recreation is off limits, include walking your dog (even on a leash), driving a vehicle, riding a bicycle, camping, fires, and flying kites or drones.

"Visitors will have access to hundreds of miles of beaches without these seasonal restrictions," said Laurel Hillmann, ocean shores specialist for Oregon State Parks.

"By planning your trip, you can enjoy the coast and help keep this sensitive bird safe."

Several land managers oversee beach activity for plover protection, particularly the U. S. Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD).

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed western snowy plovers as a threatened species in 1993.



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