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Oregon Parks and Recreation Department > Oregon Parks and Recreation Department: Stewardship > Pages > plover

 Western Snowy Plover and the Oregon Coast




Check our Nature Notes for the latest western snowy plover updates! 





Beach restrictions to protect shorebirds begin March 15! Please observe recreation restriction signs at all 16 shorebird protection areas.

Western snowy plover nest - can you spot it?

OPRD and the Western Snowy Plover


 The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is legally responsible for recreation on the Ocean Shore. Our mission balances the public's right to enjoy the natural resources and the need to protect those natural resources for all the future.

Management of the Ocean Shore could negatively affect the snowy plovers that live there, which would be considered take as defined under both state and federal Endangered Species Acts. "Take" describes anything that harms a protected species. Obvious acts like killing or injuring a plover are considered take, but so are not-so-obvious things like chasing, interrupting feeding, or scaring birds off nests. Take doesn't have to be intentional to be serious; it can be an accident.


To protect both the plover and the public's recreational access to Oregon's beaches, OPRD developed the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) with the Federal United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). The HCP provides a balanced roadmap for both people and plovers to share the beach. The HCP concentrates plover recovery actions to 16 areas on the coast.


 Snowy Plover Management Areas

There are 16 beaches designated for western snowy plover management in Oregon.
  1. Clatsop Spit, Fort Stevens State Park (managed by OPRD)
  2. Necanicum Spit, Gearhart Ocean State Recreation Area (managed by OPRD)
  3. Nehalem Spit, Nehalem Bay State Park (managed by OPRD)
  4. Netarts Spit, Cape Lookout State Park (managed by OPRD)
  5. Bayocean Spit (unmanaged, USACE)
  6. South Sand Lake, Sitka Sedge State Natural Area (managed by OPRD)
  7. Baker and Sutton Beach (managed by USFS)
  8. Siltcoos Estuary, Dunes Overlook, and Tahkenitch North (managed by USFS)
  9. Tahkenitch South (managed by USFS)
  10. North Umpqua (managed by USFS)
  11. Tenmile (managed by USFS)
  12. Coos Bay North Spit (managed by BLM and USACE)
  13. Bandon, Bandon State Natural Area (managed by OPRD)
  14. New River/Floras Lake (managed by BLM)
  15. Elk River (privately managed)
  16. Eucre River RMA (unmanaged, privately owned)

Shorebird Seasonal Beach Access Restrictions

OPRD and its partners enact seasonal recreation restrictions in shorebird conservation areas to protect shorebirds. Only part of the beach is affected - the dry sand above the high tide line is set aside to either help nesting plovers, or to encourage them to start nesting. The wet sand still remains open to pedestrian and equestrian use. Dogs, motorized and non-motorized vehicles (including bicycles), and kites are prohibited on shorebird conservation areas with active nesting during the seasonal restrictions. These activities are too risky to the birds; however, there are many beaches adjacent to the plover areas where visitors can enjoy these forms of recreation.

Seasonal recreation restrictions may occur within designated Shorebird Conservation Areas, which are comprised of Snowy Plover Management Areas (SPMAs) and Recreation Management Areas (RMAs). SPMAs are managed by OPRD and RMAs are managed by another entity. These restrictions are based on the plover occupancy status. Management areas where snowy plovers have exhibited breeding behavior are considered occupied; areas that may attract snowy plovers are considered unoccupied. 

Shorebird Conservation Areas
Shorebird Conservation Areas
​Designated but Unmanaged
Shorebird Conservation Areas
​Restrictions active from March 15 - September 15 Restrictions active from March 15 - July 15 ​None
No Motorized Vehicles
No Non-motorized Vehicles, including bicycles
No Dogs
No Kites, including drones
​No Motorized Vehicles
No Non-motorized Vehicles, including bicycles
Dogs on leash
​None at this time
Could be managed in the future
  • Nehalem Spit
  • South Sand Lake
  • Baker/Baker Beach
  • Siltcoos/Dunes Overlook
  • Tahkenitch
  • Tenmile
  • Coos Bay North Spit
  • Bandon
  • New River/Floras Lake
  • Clatsop Spit
  • Necanicum Spit
  • North Umpqua
  • Bayocean Spit
  • Netarts Spit
  • Eucre River



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