Snowy Plover Critical Habitat Protection Measures at Point Reyes National Seashore for 2002
Contact: John Dell’Osso, 415-464-5135
Contact: Dr. Sarah Allen, 415-464-5187
The federally-listed threatened snowy plover nesting season is underway. Last year, the plovers at Point Reyes National Seashore had another poor nesting season likely due to intense weather, human disturbance, and predation by ravens and raptors. Efforts to protect the plovers include roping off breeding habitat on upper sections of beaches and the construction of “exclosures” around their inconspicuous nests immediately after an egg is laid. To assure this success occurs this nesting season, the annual closure of a small stretch of the Point Reyes Beach to dogs will be initiated again.
“This is the most critical time of the nesting season for these birds to have a chance of surviving.” stated Superintendent Don Neubacher. He added, “We must do what we can to help this species survive over the long-term and this is one step we can take to reach this goal. We ask everyone’s help in this effort. We appreciate everyone’s support for closures in past years.”
Closing a small stretch of the 12-mile beach to dogs is important to minimize disturbance during this critical time. The stretch of beach starting at ¼ mile north of the North Beach parking lot and continuing to a point ¼ mile south of Kehoe Beach, will be closed to dogs from Friday, March 15th until Monday, September 9th, 2002. The closures encompass less than three miles of this 12-mile beach area. Other popular beaches such as Limantour and Kehoe Beaches remain open as alternatives for park visitors with dogs. All dogs are required to be on leash.
Exclosures are wire fencing with twine wrapped around the top, erected at the nest site. The plovers have easy access in and out of the wire mesh but the eggs are protected from their number one predator, ravens, as well as other predators.
Last year, the Seashore received funds from the Point Reyes National Seashore Association to hire a ranger to provide information and education on the snowy plovers at beach trailheads. This program was successful in reaching more visitors with information on closures and their importance to increasing the plover population at Point Reyes. Rangers and volunteer docents will be on-site again this season from Memorial Day through Labor Day.