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Contact: Jane Rodgers, 415-464-5190
In an effort to keep the momentum going at the Abbotts Lagoon restoration site, Point Reyes National Seashore is stepping up efforts to improve habitat for the threatened Western snowy plover. Exotic plants have taken over significant sections of coastal dune habitat at the Seashore, and park staff have been working for the past several years to turn back the tide on this invasion. Using hand and mechanical tools, invasive non-native European beachgrass and iceplant have been removed from over nearly 50 acres of rare coastal dune habitat. Restoration biologists from Point Reyes NS continue to work closely with biologists from the Point Reyes Bird Observatory to restore habitat for the snowy plover. In 2005, 11 snowy plover chicks were raised in the restoration area only a few short months after the beachgrass was removed. At the close of the plover breeding season, chick fledge rates (45%) had doubled from previous years. This project has benefited several rare plant species in addition to the plover, including a small annual wildflower, beach layia, and the perennial Tidestrom’s lupine. Both plants begun to recolonize the newly restored area in the absence of the European beachgrass.
With more acres to restore, equipment will be working south of the lagoon to treat a 2-acre section of dense beachgrass. Workers will be on site November 21 through December 9 clearing the area to create additional plover habitat before the breeding season starts in mid-March. This project is supported through funding from the Cape Mohican oil spill recovery plan.
Contact: Jane Rodgers, Plant Ecologist, Point Reyes National Seashore (415) 464-5190