This article is provided courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service.
The coastal population of the western snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) was listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1993. In 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed a cooperative plan for recovery of the Pacific Coast population of the western snowy plover. The western snowy plover spends its entire life on the beaches of Washington, Oregon, California, and the Baja peninsula. The population in Oregon has ranged from 72 to 208 adults since 1993.
The Siuslaw National Forest is an active partner in a strong collaborative stewardship approach to protecting western snowy plover breeding and nesting habitat, educating ocean shore visitors, monitoring reproductive success, and public compliance.
Of the eight nesting sites in Oregon, five occur on the Siuslaw National Forest and the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Seasonal restrictions within Snowy Plover Management Areas are enacted in partnership with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Each year, the forest installs signs and site specific information, builds nesting exclosures.
During the breeding season between March 15 and September 15 dry sand beach areas are closed to human entry to help protect the plovers during the critical nesting season. Snowy plovers lay their eggs in small depressions on open sand. If the birds are disturbed by people or pets, they may fly away from their nest, putting their eggs or young at risk.
In order to protect known nesting areas, it is important for beachgoers to pay attention to signs identifying what types of beach activities are permitted and what areas are open. Different restrictions apply to dry and wet sand and open and closed areas. Closed areas around nesting areas on the Siuslaw National Forest are clearly marked.
2012 survey and monitoring of the distribution and reproductive success of the western snowy plover along the Oregon Coast indicated the highest estimate of adult plover population and highest number of nests since monitoring began in 1990.
Many Oregon beaches are not used by the birds, and visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities there year round. On other beaches, designated as plover nesting beaches, certain activities are limited from March 15 through September 15.
Visitors should pay attention to signs identifying what types of beach activities are permitted and what areas are open. Different rules apply to dry and wet sand on plover beaches. Designated trails that go through plover areas remain open. Users must remain on the trail, and once on the beach, walk on wet sand that is close to the water's edge.
Visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Western Snowy Plover page.
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