Sharing the beach with Western Snowy Plovers

Press Release
Sharing the beach with Western Snowy Plovers

Arcata, Calif. - Breeding season is here! For the Pacific coast population of western snowy plovers, March until September is the most important time of year: time to find a mate, lay and incubate eggs, then teach the young how to survive on their own.

This past season was a season of firsts for the federally threatened western snowy plover. New nesting sites were found on Pacific Coast beaches, including along California's North Coast. This is a sign that, against all odds, western snowy plovers are making a comeback and the continued cooperation of beachgoers is needed to help give them the space they need to nest and raise their young.

To ensure the eggs and future chicks have the best possible chance of survival, beach visitors can help by following a few simple guidelines:

  •  Respect all areas posted or roped-off for the protection of wildlife.
  • When walking on the beach, stay on the wet hard-packed sand. Do not approach birds or nests.
  •  Avoid prolonged picnicking or sunbathing near plover-nesting habitat.
  •  Light fires or camp only in designated areas.
  •  If dogs are permitted, don't allow your dog to play in the dry sand areas where birds are more prone to nest. Never allow your dog to chase birds.
  •  Do not leave or bury trash or food scraps on the beach. Garbage attracts predators such as gulls, crows, ravens and skunks. Please dispose of all trash properly and do not inadvertently (or intentionally) feed wildlife.
  •  If you’re on a beach that allows vehicles, drive low and slow, staying on the hard-packed sand below or near the high tide line.
  •  Avoid flying kites or other hovering objects near plover-nesting habitat.

Beach activities may be restricted to certain areas during this critical nesting time, March 15 through mid-September along the North Coast, to balance recreational opportunities and wildlife protection. You can do your part by knowing and adhering to location-specific rules and regulations. For more information on the western snowy plover and YOU, beach rules and regulations, beach access and a user-friendly dog brochure, visit:

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The California Department of Parks and Recreation’s mission is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state's extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.