Arcata,California.–Howareyouchoosingtocelebrate Fourth of July this year? Are you breaking out the cornhole board and BBQ, spending time with friends and family, watching a firework show, or enjoying public lands?
If you find yourself celebrating at one of California’sNorthCoastbeachesthisyear,please beawareofitswildresidents.Threatenedwestern snowy plovers, amongst other critters, live and depend on these beaches. Right now, plovers are breeding and focused on creating the next generation of small, feathered beachgoers.
FourthofJulycanbeanespeciallyperiloustimefor plovers.Useoffireworksandincreasedhumanpresenceonbeaches areseriousthreatsto these birdsandtheiroffspring. Fireworksareknowntocausenest,chick,andterritoryabandonment. This abandonment leads to increased vulnerability to predators, nest and chick failure, and impacts to adults’ health. Increased human presence can have these effects and result in accidental trampling of eggs and chicks if people (and their pets) walk through dry sand areas that represent good plover nesting habitat.
You can help these plover parents and their chicks survive by taking a few simple actions:
Fireworks-Checkbeach-specificfireworkregulationsbeforeyouplanyour FourthofJuly weekend activities. Fireworks are not allowed on most public beaches.
Dogs-Knowbeach-specificdogrulesbeforeyougo.Ifdogsarepermitted,followtheleash rules. Do not allow your dog(s) to chase birds.
Leavespaceforwildlifeandenjoythebirdsfromafar -Leavebirdsalone;don’tapproachor chase them.
· Avoidprolongedpicnickingorsunbathinginplovernestinghabitat(drysandareasabove the wrack line.)
· Walkonthewet,hard-packedsandbelowthewracklineto avoidnestinghabitat.
· Respectallpostedsignsand/orroped-offareasfortheprotectionof wildlife.
Trash-Packouttrash,don’tleaveorburyit.Garbageattractspredatorssuchas ravens,crows, ravens, gulls, and skunks. Please dispose of all trash properly and do not inadvertently or intentionally feed wildlife.
Vehicles-Ifyou’reon abeach thatallowsvehicles, drive‘lowandslow’,stayingon thehard- packed sand below the high tide line where plovers forage.
· Avoiddrivingoveroldvehicleorfoot tracksasploversliketorest or“loaf”intheseand become extremely hard to see.
To balance recreational opportunities and wildlife protection along the North Coast, beach activities may be restricted to certain areas during the breeding season, March 1- September 15. Youcandoyourpartinprotectingadults,chicks,andeggs byknowingandadhering tolocation- specificrules and regulations. Formore information onthe“snowy plover and you,”beach rules and regulations, beach access, and a user-friendly dog guide/map, explore the following links:
· CaliforniaDepartmentofParksand Recreation
· SouthHumboldtBayandOceanBeachAccess Information
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants,andtheirhabitats forthecontinuingbenefitoftheAmericanpeople.Formoreinformationabout our work and the people who make it happen, visit the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office Webpageor connect with us via Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr.
TheBureauofLandManagement'smissionistosustainthehealth,diversity,andproductivityofpublic lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
Friendsofthe Dunesisdedicatedtoconservingthe naturaldiversity ofcoastalenvironmentsthrough community supported education and stewardship programs.
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,protectingitsmostvaluednaturalandculturalresources,andcreatingopportunitiesforhigh- quality outdoor recreation.