Press Release
Sharing the Beach with Western Snowy Plovers
Non-breeding season is here!
An adult Western snowy plover. Credit: Peter Pearsall/USFWS

Arcata, Calif. – Breeding season for federally threatened Western snowy plovers has officially come to an end. This doesn’t mean that plovers get to relax and enjoy the fall and winter seasons with pumpkin spice lattes or eggnog, however. Instead, plovers must continue to forage for food and work to stay warm and protected from the elements.

As fellow beach goers, our actions matter to Western snowy plovers, even when they are not breeding. Research shows that day-to-day stress can impact the outcome of their next breeding season. The actions of people can affect the well-being, health and reproductive fitness of snowy plovers, and so their overall survival.

The good news is that you can help minimize impacts to plovers through some simple practices:

Dogs - Know beach-specific dog rules before you go. If dogs are permitted, follow the leash rules. Do not allow your dog(s) to chase birds.

Space - Leave space for wildlife and enjoy birds from afar; don’t approach or chase them. Doing so may decrease their stored energy reserves and prevent them from foraging.

  • Walk on the wet, hard-packed sand below the wrack line (i.e., the line of debris left by the high tide) where plovers forage.
  • Respect all posted signs and/or roped-off areas for the protection of wildlife.

Trash - Pack out trash, don’t leave or bury it. Garbage attracts predators such as ravens, crows, gulls, and skunks. Please dispose of all trash properly and do not inadvertently or intentionally feed wildlife.

Vehicles - If you’re on a beach that allows vehicles, drive ‘low and slow,’ staying on the hard-packed sand below the wrack line that plovers forage near.

  • Avoid driving over old vehicle or foot tracks as plovers like to rest or “loaf” in these and are extremely hard to see.

​​​​​​​Camping - Camp or build fires only in designated areas.

Thank you for your contribution to sharing the shore with our feathered friends. For more information on the “snowy plover and you,” beach rules and regulations, beach access, and a user-friendly dog guide/map, explore the following links:

Media Contact:

Daisy Ambriz-Peres

Friends of the Dunes


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office Webpage or connect with us via Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr.

The Bureau of Land Management's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Friends of the Dunes is dedicated to conserving the natural diversity of coastal environments through 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, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.

Recreational Activities