Some Oregon Coast Beaches Under Restrictions to Protect Threatened Plover
Published 03/19/2017 at 7:13 PM PDT - Updated 03/19/2017 at 7:14 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Oregon Coast) – March 15 through September 15 is when a handful of Oregon coast beaches come under certain restrictions to help protect the threatened Western snowy plover and its nesting spots. Most of the rules apply to dogs, camping, kites/drones and driving, but some areas (mostly on the southern coast) prohibit foot traffic. (Above: the snowy plover).
Plovers are a small shorebird that make their nests on open sand along several beaches. During their nesting season, they can get easily frightened by humans and abandon their eggs and chicks. The young ones are also well camouflaged and are easily injured or killed by bikes and other vehicles.
The Siuslaw National Forest oversees the largest number of beaches affected by these rules, with the majority of restrictions or complete closures happening in the Florence area or southward.
These include: Oregon Dunes Day Use Area, Siltcoos Estuary and surrounding area, Spinreel to Horsfall beaches, Tahkenitch Creek Estuary area, Umpqua Dunes area (Winchester Bay), Ten Mile Creek Estuary region, and Baker Beach and Sutton Beach. See the full restrictions map here.
On the north coast, the plover management areas are for the most part quite remote. The three protected areas are: Clatsop Spit (the very tip of the area, beyond the jetty observation platform); the Necanicum Spit at Gearhart (on the Gearhart side of the river); and the majority of the ocean-facing edge of the Nehalem Bay spit.
There are no restricted areas on the central Oregon coast.
“We’re making great strides in reversing the downward slide of this species,” said Cindy Burns, Siuslaw National Forest wildlife biologist. “But it takes all of us, so we hope people will do their part to understand nesting season rules and to share the beach this spring and summer.”
On these plover beaches, the dry sand and dunes are closed to all access, except along official trails, to protect eggs and chicks. Visitors may see roped off areas within these closed areas, which serve to protect to most sensitive habitat; however, all dry sand on both sides of the rope is closed, except on designated trails. Wet sand areas on plover beaches remains open to foot and equestrian traffic (no dogs, kites/drones, camping, bicycles, or motor vehicles).
The bird was listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service back in 1993. The plover lost many of its habitats on the coast because of some invasive plants as well as human activities. Litter was yet another factor to the species' decline as it attracted more predators. Siuslaw Forest management continues to remove the invasive plants to this day.
Detailed information about nesting restrictions and site locations, as well as links to resources from Oregon State Parks, can be found on the Siuslaw Web site at www.fs.usda.gov/siuslaw. Where to stay in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours
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