Victory for Western Snowy Plover

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Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

On June 18th, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) announced that 24,527 acres will be designated as critical habitat to protect the population of threatened western snowy plovers on the pacific coast of Washington, Oregon and California.  “Species with federally protected habitat are more than twice as likely to be moving toward recovery than species without it, so this puts a big safety net between plovers and extinction,” said Tierra Curry of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Western Snowy Plovers are typically found in undeveloped beaches, estuaries and river bars in the unique coastal beach-dune ecosystems along the Pacific Coast. Their estimated population is about 2,500, and is concentrated in only 28 major nesting areas.  Threats to plover habitat include human activity on beaches such as walking, jogging, walking pets, operating off-road vehicles, and horseback riding during the plover breeding season, which inadvertantly results in destruction of eggs and chicks.

EPIC has been advocating for protections for western snowy plovers in our region and we are excited to see these sensitive areas set aside for their recovery.  Some of the places that EPIC advocated for include Lake Earl, Gold Bluff Beach, Humboldt Spit and Beach, Eel River Gravel Bars, MacKerricher Beach and Manchester Beach.  For additional information click here to visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s website.