Credit: D. Pitkin/USFWS
The Pacific Coast population of the western snowy plover is federally listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 as threatened.
Threats include poor reproductive success, resulting from human disturbance, predation, and inclement weather, combined with permanent or long-term loss of nesting habitat to encroachment of non-native European beachgrass and urban development. This has lead to a decline in active nesting, as well as an overall decline in the breeding and wintering population of the snowy plover along the Pacific coast
Human activities, such as walking, jogging, running pets, horseback riding, and vehicle use, are key factors in the ongoing decline in breeding sites and populations. The nesting season of the western snowy plover (March through September) coincides with the period of greatest human use (Memorial Day through Labor Day) on beaches of the west coast. Intensive beach use by humans may result in abandonment of nest sites, reductions in nest density, and reductions in nesting success.
April 17, 2014
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