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Western snowy plovers nesting on beach at Clatsop Spit

May 25, 2018

Western snowy plover nests have been spotted at Clatsop Spit within Fort Stevens State Park. Nest sightings prompt special precautions in designated snowy plover management areas. The Columbia River side of Clatsop Spit is one of several management areas on the coast.

Beachgoers will see signs on dry sand that identify designated plover nesting areas. This helps prevent the well-camouflaged eggs and chicks from being accidentally crushed by people or pets. Visitor foot traffic is limited to wet sand areas and along official trails.

Several activities are restricted in plover management areas, including dogs (even on a leash), vehicles, kites, drones, camping and fires. Visitors should follow instructions on posted signs or if needed, ask a park ranger for clarification.
Plovers nest in dry open sand, in tiny, shallow scrapes. Not only are nests easy to miss (or step on), but repeated disturbance by activities the bird considers a threat can cause the eggs to die.

Vanessa Blackstone, wildlife biologist with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), says the new plover nests are the first to be spotted on Fort Stevens' beaches in several decades.

“Oregonians have helped plovers return to the North Coast, and Clatsop Spit is an important link between our Lincoln County birds and those that live in Washington,” said Blackstone. “Plovers nesting at Fort Stevens is a huge step for species recovery and people who support a healthy environment. We can all be proud of this moment.”

OPRD is responsible for managing recreation on Oregon’s ocean shore, overseeing snowy plover management areas and the recreation restrictions that come with the legal agreement between OPRD and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Western snowy plovers were listed as a threatened species in 1993.

More information, including maps of designated plover management areas, can be found at bit.ly/wsplover.