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Western Snowy Plover

Seasonal Beach Restrictions

Oregon’s beaches are protected nesting grounds for a small shorebird called the western snowy plover. During nesting season (March 15 – Sep. 15), some recreation activities may be restricted or prohibited in designated plover management areas:

  • No dogs (even on a leash), vehicles, bikes, kites or drones on these beaches – including the entire dune area and the wet sand, which can be far from signs.
  • No camping or beach fires.
  • If you are walking or riding your horse, stay on the wet sand.
  • Please plan an alternate route to the beach rather than walk through the areas being groomed to attract plovers or where plovers may already be nesting. The north coast and south coast maps can help you plan your trip.
Thanks in part to your diligence in respecting these restrictions, plover populations are rebounding! Learn more here.

​Key identifying features include:

  • Small shorebird, sparrow sized
  • Short dark bill
  • Incomplete neck band
  • Dark grey to black legs
  • Many have leg bands

Photo of western snowy plover adult

​Dogs are welcome at most times and places on Oregon’s beaches, but not on designated beaches during plover nesting season (March 15-Sept 15). Please check out the north and south coast plover maps before planning a trip with your dog and watch for signs when you are heading out to the beach. More information about visiting parks and beaches with your dog can be found on our Pawsitive Oregon State Parks page.​

Western snowy plover signage

​Signs will help indicate you are in a plover management area. Note that restrictions apply to the entire dune and beach area, even though signs may be high in the dry sand. That’s so they don’t wash away at high tide. Please check out the maps before planning a beach visit during the spring and summer.

diamond shaped sign showing seasonally prohibited activities

​Do you think you may have found a snowy plover nest outside a plover management area in Oregon (i.e., on a coastal beach not listed on the map)? Please keep your distance, nesting plovers are easily disturbed. After checking out the maps, if the beach you visited isn't already part of a snowy plover management area, please contact Laurel Hillmann (see contacts listed on this page).​

western snowy plover chick next to an unhatched egg

​OPRD has conducted previous habitat restoration work at Bandon State Natural Area, Sitka Sedge State Natural Area and Nehalem Bay State Park. Habitat maintenance work continues at these sites and additional restoration may be necessary in the future.

In 2023-2024 Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will be conducting habitat restoration work at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area, Nehalem Bay State Park and Bandon State Natural Area. This work may include ongoing maintenance outside of snowy plover nesting season.

Project summaries for 2021-2022


OPRD successfully received a grant to conduct a habitat restoration project at Sitka Sedge SNA. Restoration will include removal of invasive vegetation (e.g., European and American beachgrass, Scotch broom), other vegetation that has encroached into the previous open sandy beach along with dune contouring to improve habitat for the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed western snowy plover.   The habitat restoration work is required by the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), an agreement between the US Fish and Wildlife Service and OPRD. OPRD received an ocean shore alteration permit for the work, which included Tillamook County planning review and concurrence. Site investigations occurred to meet the Section 106 requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act and SPHO approval will occur prior to any site construction.   Work is expected to begin this fall and will be completed no later than the end of February, 2022. Potential contractors may be meeting on site, using the access point at Tierra Del Mar during the first week of October to visit the restoration site for a pre-bid meeting.


Potential contractors met on site on 10/7, using the access point at Tierra Del Mar to visit the restoration site for a pre-bid meeting with state park staff.


The selected contractor met on site on 1/18 with state park staff and archeological monitors. The motor vehicle access point at Tierra Del Mar was used to access the ocean shore. The contractor met with staff, staged equipment at the restoration site and began restoration work. Now that the equipment is onsite you can anticipate daily passenger vehicle traffic which will include the contractor and OPRD personnel.  We anticipate that the project will not take more than two weeks to complete at which time the equipment will mobilize off-site once again utilizing the Tierra Del Mar vehicle beach access. 


The contractor continued work and expects to complete this portion of restoration work early this week. Equipment could demobilize off the beach as early as the afternoon of the 24th.


As part of OPRD’s ongoing habitat restoration in the dunes at the north end of Sitka Sedge State Natural Area for the ESA listed western snowy plover, we intend to manage the remaining European beachgrass infestation on the seaward edge of the area we recontoured this fall.  This area was not recontoured due to regulatory restrictions on sand placement in the tidal zone.  The planned management treatment will involve use of a contractor to spray the thin strip of remaining infested habitat with an herbicide approved for use in sensitive restoration habitat and aquatic environments, the area will have notices posted during the treatment.  The intention is for the beachgrass to decay and allow the strip to be leveled by wind over time so that it blends with the recontoured area behind it.  The treatment will occur prior to the start of western snowy plover nesting season (March 15, 2022).  After OPRD achieves control of invasive weeds, native dune plants will be established that are appropriate to the low native dune ecosystem.    This restoration aims to restore the “wide beach”, which is the environment that plovers depend on and that was naturally present in the area prior to invasion by European beachgrass and scotch broom.  European beachgrass and scotch broom were introduced in the early 20th century. They stabilized the sand and slowly ate into the beach, narrowing the area snowy plovers could nest.  This “wide beach” restoration goal will give snowy plovers more room to nest and raise their young. It will be easier for them to camouflage their nests and there will be fewer places for predators to hide. Having a wide restored beach will also make it easier for people to share the beach with the plovers. 

A drive on beach permit was issued for the scheduled treatment so you may notice one day of single vehicle access on the ocean shore.


European beachgrass within the Snowy Plover restoration area at Sitka Sedge on October 18th.  The contractor will post notices around the site and at the trailhead kiosk within the park and has obtained a Drive on Beach Permit for this work. 

Plover habitat restoration area